A Unicorn’s Reflections: Teaching & Learning Paradox

As my time in Sangha Space grows longer, I notice that I gradually feel more confident that I have something to share and teach others. At the very beginning, I never saw myself in a position to teach, and I didn’t feel that I had something to teach. After a while, even though I was told that I could help teaching, I consistently questioned if what I pointed out was correct, what I corrected was necessary, and if the moment I chose to teach was correct. Until this day, I still can’t name every move correctly. Now that my confidence has grown just a little bit, I will risk saying that I know at least something about tango, and the book The Courage to Teach is very helpful and relatable.

In the book, the author brought up six paradoxical tensions that were important to build into the teaching and learning space. And I could relate that to my understanding of Sangha Space Tango classes in many ways.

 The space should be bounded and open. We have freedom, but also rules. Rotation, and Smircle!

The space should be hospitable and “charged”. This is a safe space for people that value different things and spend their time differently. You could dance all time, or sit at a table with your friends and hang out. But if you want to dance crazy and learn like crazy, you definitely can.

The space should invite the voice of the individual and the voice of the group. We encourage everyone to share what they feel and have the opportunity to explore and learn.

The space should honor the “little stories of the students and the “big” stories of the disciplines and tradition. We are all tango nuts and we treat tango very professionally. But we care about other things too. From both our meetings, and conversations after class, I learned about many people’s stories. Nothing is too small to not cheer for.

The space should support solitude and surround it with the resources of community. Everyone here supports each other, for better and worse.

The space should welcome both silence and speechYou could talk about life, or reflect on classes and write notes. As a person that’s not very perky, I came in believing that I would feel very comfortable here.

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