What makes a good learning environment
To get the most out of whichever experience you choose, consider these ideals when searching for an exploration opportunity:
Free of excessive judgment:
A safe space to explore and learn without fear of judgment
Doing purposeful work and trying to experience a “bigger picture” perspective:
The actual work that you are doing might sometimes be tedious, but the bigger picture behind the work needs to matter to you! (Maybe you need to make time to talk with someone at the organization to be sure you understand the big picture behind what you’re doing and why the efforts of the organization matter in the community.)
Time for reflection and space to examine values:
You need to have experiences, and you need to make time to process what you are experiencing. Marker 20 can help walk you through this.
Work to be fully immersed in an experience rather than doing only “what you have to.”
This could be the mentor you’ve been working with, or a new friend or mentor that can help you process your experience. Marker 20 of the Trail Guide can help you with this.
Learning beyond your comfort zones:
When you step outside of what you already know and understand, you learn a lot about yourself and the world around you. Consider how you can take a step outside of your comfort zone.
Resources from Chapman, McPhee & Proudman (1995)
How do you know which opportunities will provide an environment like this? Talk to anyone you know who has participated in that opportunity in the past to get their feedback. The Timothy Circle Opportunities page will be adding reviews of opportunities and can be a good resource for this, as well.
You’ll also notice from this list that you yourself are capable of influencing your learning environment by deeply investing in the experience with your interest and time. Take advantage of this!