There is a small, but very well formed staff team at Oxford Lifelong Learning; one that is conscientious, hard-working and committed to providing the best possible support for the people who access the Learning Centre. Seeing the Great Interactions policy being taken on board so fully, and implemented into everything within the Learning Centre, has given me great pleasure. Staff, volunteers and students have also enthusiastically welcomed the policy and the Great Interactions book.
But it is seeing Great Interactions in action that has moved me most and I want to share an example of this.
I was supporting ‘The Friendship Ring’ at one of their Tuesday sessions and it was a musical night of, singing, dancing and playing instruments. Everyone was having fun and beginning to relate to each other in a deeper way, but I was struck by one particular interaction that I saw taking place. One of our learners finds it harder to step forward and tends to hold back from full engagement in activities, but this all changes when he can share in the fun of making music.
What impressed me so much was seeing how the principles of Great Interactions turned what might have been a solitary and internalised pleasure into an outgoing, sharing, and empowering activity. I saw eye contact, positioning,
warmth, creativity, responsiveness, and good communication turn a lone individual into a fully participant member of a music group.
There can be no doubt that when we experience ‘Great Interactions’ we are left feeling satisfied and valued. However, the benefits are not just for the recipients of consciously or naturally inspired Great Interactions, but also for those of us
that put it into practise. I have seen how it gives us a valuable key to unlock the potential that all our learners have within them.