Creating Differentiated Learning Environments
Project Adventure Leads Their First Women’s Specific Advanced Skills and Standards Workshop
BEVERLY, Mass., March 19, 2018
Each year, the trainers at Project Adventure sit down and discuss the topics of workshops to offer and what content is relevant in our industry. It was last year that the idea of having a women’s specific technical training landed on the table. Some staff got on board believing that a women’s specific option would enhance our appeal. However, there was some speculation that if we offered it, we would be going against our inclusive model of learning.
After much discussion, the result was a resounding, YES! This opportunity was not created to limit learning but instead, offer a differentiated learning environment while delivering the same content as our current Advanced Skills and Standards. Laura MacDonald and Camille Oosterman, two of our incredible trainers, recently reflected on their time spent in these environments.
At various times over the last 20 years, I have found myself by accident or design in single-sex learning environments. The one that stands out the most was 12 of us women for a two-day training. Trust in the group was built quickly and before long, we shared feelings of motivation, vulnerability, and apprehension. The empathy and support offered were immediate and overwhelming. Soon participants were doing things like yelling loudly before climbing the ladder, and everyone was gathering around to watch and encourage. There were laughter and tears, frustration and triumph. I noticed I was more able to push my limits in the community that we built. I botched many of the new skills I tried, but that was less important than sharing what I was learning with my peers. When I returned to my course, I had a new confidence and proficiency. It has been 16 years since that workshop, and we are all still connected. It is an experience I won’t ever forget.
It wasn’t until I started my internship at Project Adventure that I recognized the different energies and styles of the women I was working with. Some of them were, and still are, charismatic and extroverted, but far more of them brought a different sort of presence to their groups that resonated with me more than the other groups I had experienced. I have had the privilege to work with many incredible women in this industry, but I have always had to seek them out. So much of our industry has been dominated by the male voice—in our publications, in our role-models, in our history—that it has been challenging, but not impossible, to find female role-models. I have now been involved in several technical trainings lead by women, and it has helped me to be more confident in my own technical abilities. Sure, being proficient in any field is possible with enough diligence and confidence, regardless of who you are, but it is so much more inspiring to be able to recognize yourself in your leaders.
Please join us April 30 - May 3 for our women’s specific Advanced Skills and Standards workshop.