Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Telling Life: Continuing Education

The National Storytelling Conference starts tomorrow, right here in Kansas City. I'm looking forward to it; it's an opportunity to see people I care about, do a little work and learn a few things.

If you are passionate and dedicated to your profession it's worth pursuing some continuing education, no matter how much of a master you already are. Conferences are one way to do so. Over the course of this week I will certainly attend workshops, where I may learn some new things. More than that, I'll spend time talking with my colleagues, so we can bat ideas around and help each other become better at what we do. I'm also going to perform and am running a workshop. I will be busy.

Each facet of the conference has value for me as continuing ed.

When I attend a workshop, even if it's about a topic I know, I am exposed to another way of thinking. By going through the exercises and participating I have a chance to learn from others in the class, be they masters or novices.

Talking with my colleagues means I am exposed to more ideas and approaches than I ever would be were I to isolate myself. It helps me when someone I respect challenges my ideas and makes me work through my reasoning. The conference means I will have several conversations, aided by a martini or two, where I will get fired up and remember that part of what I love about this work is the intellect.

My performances on Wednesday and Friday nights, along with my workshop Sunday morning function as continuing education because I have to not only prepare the material, I will be presenting it to my colleagues, people who have heard a lot of stories and sat through many workshops. The bar is higher, even though they are loving, supportive and excellent audiences.

Continuing education opportunities are everywhere. Reading, talking, going to events, being observant of the world and more. Every time we consider our art and take a risk, we are learning. I'd love to know what some of your favorite continuing education tools are. Do you read? Are you in a book club? Do you have a regular place to try out new material? What else?

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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