This week, I convened the first day of an Open Space experience at Simon Fraser University. Our topic was Radical Teaching and we continue tomorrow for a second day. Open Space is an ideal forum for Knowledges Exchange. Open Space makes possible an environment in which participants can build trust, exchange knowledges, surface questions that are important to them, and own the process for exploring what inspires them.  Four principles and one law were established by Harrison Owen, who is credited with launching Open Space: Whoever comes is the right people; Whatever happens is the only thing that could have; When it starts is the right time; When it’s over it’s over. The Law of Two Feet invites people to move to a new conversation if they have stopped contributing or learning. For further information on Open Space, check out: http://www.openspaceworld.org/ 

The gathering attracted many faculty members who self-selected to participate. Many of them had an interest in experiencing Open Space, others were more interested in exploring the nature of Radical Teaching. In addition to faculty, there were a few administrators, a librarian and even a student!

For the first activity, participants were invited to divide themselves into groups of three, and join a table where a facilitator would start the conversation about teaching. For almost 90 minutes, there was animated dialogue. Although everyone had been invited to take advantage of the Law of Two Feet, hardly anyone moved from the first group chosen. There were very evident and audible exchanges. What a joy to see groups learning eagerly from each other.

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