We're Learning About 'Understanding Ourselves and Others'

This term, one of our core courses is Understanding Ourselves and Others. Wayfinding Academy Founder and Faculty member, Michelle Jones, gives us a closer look through her lens.

For the past 9 weeks, I have spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning in class with the students in the inaugural cohort at Wayfinding Academy having conversations to deeper our understanding of ourselves and of others. In this course, our overarching goal is to better be able to understand, influence, and predict our own behavior and that of other people, including when we are working in a group or team environment. 

The topics we cover include personality, perception, motivation, group and team dynamics, leadership, and organizational culture. In addition to having free flowing conversations about these (and sometimes other, tangentially related) topics, we have also done some hands on activities. One day we did a group decision making exercise where the goal was to see how well we did at making decisions about how to survive if we are in a plane crash in the desert - were we more likely to survive on our own or with others? Another day we told stories about photographs to determine where our motivations come from. And one day we took a field trip to The Grotto and walked the meditation labyrinth as part of our exploration of emotional intelligence. 

The 9 courses in the core curriculum at Wayfinding are equally focused on “self” and “society” and this term students are in the Engaging with Information course (which we profiled a couple weeks ago) to get their “society” fix and this Understanding Ourselves and Others course to get their “self” fix. We are continuously looking for a place where what the students want to do with their lives and what the world needs can come together in alignment. And, for the first time, we have several team projects ongoing that cross both courses. One team of students is creating a non-profit organization they are calling the Debt Free Student Society and are collecting data and doing research on the national student debt crisis for the Engaging with Information class and analyzing their team dynamics and processes for the Understanding Ourselves and Others class. Another team is doing a similar thing through researching potential effective recruitment efforts to find future Wayfinding students. A third team is researching the process of building a tiny house from design to funding to logistics. 

Next term the students will be doing internships in the community and taking the Futures and Citizenship course and we are already starting to look ahead to those and being intentional about setting us all up for success. If you are interested in hosting a Wayfinding student as an intern (preferably paid) from May through July, let us know by filling out this short form with details.