Practice #6: Learning Continuously
Now that you have learned how to build trust, how to use your strengths and skills, how to communicate effectively, and how to resolve conflict, you are in a great position to practice learning continuously with your community partner. The goal of continuous learning is to improve your skills and knowledge so that you are able to perform better in the partnership.
To be a Continuous Learner in your partnership:
- Observe more experienced partners; see how they address issues or how they work collaboratively.
- Ask questions of your partners when you do not understand something.
- Ask your partners for their feedback on your performance.
- Ask your partners how you can improve or build skills in areas where you are weak.
- Try new ways of doing tasks (when appropriate).
- Be responsible for your own learning.
A Summary of Elizabeth's experience at Prairie Street Network Center:
It turns out there was plenty to be done at Prairie Street Network Center that would not only serve as a learning experience for Elizabeth, but also benefit the center. Unfortunately, without proper communication in the beginning, the work was not delegated appropriately.
By using effective communication and negotiation skills, Elizabeth and Steve were able to identify tasks that met both of their needs. In order to reach this point, however, Elizabeth needed to be willing to learn new skills (like effective canvassing techniques).
They also needed to understand the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the partnership. Elizabeth needed to understand PSNC's goals. Likewise, Steve needed to understand that Elizabeth's goal was to achieve the learning objectives of her service-learning experience.