You raise me up; thoughts about team learning

In the previous post of mine I told you about my path to the school of dreams, Proakatemia. Proakatemia is the entrepreneurship unit of Tampere University Of Applied Sciences and all the learning in our unit is based on team learning model. I’ve been studying at Proakatemia for six months now and I wanted to share some of my thoughts of team learning model – a way of learning so different from the way of learning we have all got used to.

Team learning model enables students to learn major issues in a creative environment, benefiting their dreams and future. The main purpose is to produce unique learning experiences; for one can decide by oneself which subjects one can experience to be useful, and concentrate on them without someone telling you, what and how you should learn.

Quotation: Academic Adventures 

Like I told in my previous post, I’ve always considered traditional teaching a bit old-fashioned and slow-paced. I’ve had to learn a lot of something I’ve since forgotten, because the information hasn’t been useful for me. Sure, I understand the importance of the general education for every child, but I’ve desired more freedom of choice and a more individual ways to learn. I’m a quick learner and even in the very practical vocational school learning was in times really slow-paced. I didn’t understand why as I thought my skills were on the expected level I wasn’t allowed to execute my practical tests and possibly graduate a bit earlier.

So when I heard about Proakatemia and the very different way of learning, I was fascinated. I could study exactly what I’m interested in and exactly in the pace that I wanted. You got to be kidding me? How awesome is that!

You only have 100 %

And so I began my journey at Proakatemia. At first I was so excited with all the freedom, but soon I was also terrified of the responsibility. It was all on me! Well, soon I learned that I wasn’t all alone. I had this great team and an amazing community of talented and so helpful people around me, all ready to support and help me if needed. It was fine to ask help and it didn’t make me seem stupid or something.

At the end of the fall I didn’t have shortage of work anymore. My calendar was packed and I was just so tired and stressed. When facing my limits I quickly learned that I can’t do everything by myself. Despite my silly concerns, other people could do just as good job as I did – and even better. I learned to see the talents in the people surrounding me and ask help from them. I had to hang right on the edge of burn-out, but I finally learned the greatness of team work. “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

During my little break-down I also learned that I didn’t have to say “yes” to everything. If I’d miss out something awesome, some day another opportunities will come in front of me. If I miss out something, maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea after all or maybe the time wasn’t right. Opportunities come and go, but like an elder student said to me: “You only have 100 percent to give – how do you share it?”. I learned to focus on the things that I really was interested in and to say “no” for the projects that might had been easy money or just exciting. Now I only jump in to projects that will help me to achieve my  goals.

team learning

Respect

I have difficulties with my impulsivity. I often talk over other people and have a need to say my opinion always out loud. Two times a week we have our teams common learning sessions witch are mainly based on dialog. Good dialog is all about listening and respecting others – not talking over them and lead the conversation forward. Oh boy that was hard at first. But every single week I noticed progress in myself. I learned to really listen and concentrate, value what others had to say. I also learned that sometimes it wasn’t necessary to say my opinion if it didn’t take the dialog forward or someone else had already said something similar.

And still, after every singe session I notice, that I’ve improved to take a few seconds before opening my mouth giving other some space to join the conversation. Our dialogs can go very deep sometimes and you can really learn a lot about your team mates – their values, their opinions, their expertise. And how great is it, that you really learn who is the best partner for you in a certain project, who to reach out to when you need support. You can never know too much people, and especially, you can never know too much about people you work with.

During these six months I’ve also learned something very, very important – to respect and believe in myself. When I had the first look of my empty calendar and after the excitement got terrified, I had this doubt of myself – can I really do this? Take all the responsibility of myself, my learning and making money to cover my part of our companys costs. But I could, and I did. I had to step out of my comfort zone and roll up my sleeves, but now I have no doubt at all. I can, and I did, take all the responsibility. All on my own? No way, but nobody has to. Everyone can find a person to find help from and to support. And that is part of taking responsibility.

I’ve also learned to believe in myself. I you just stay where you are thinking “I don’t know how to do that, I will mess up so bad, I will fail”, you will also never get anywhere. I’ve learned that sometimes, even though it can be so frightening, you just have to step in a pair of too big boots, smile to the customer and say “Yes, I can do it”. And then you’ve just got to learn during the ride. It might take a few curses, moments of despair and a sleepless night, but yes – I can do it. You’ll never learn anything if you don’t even try.

You raise me up

Team learning model is definitely the best way for me to learn. I’m sure I will still have moments I lose the belief in myself, but after a good night sleep, walking to our office the next morning, I know everything will be okay. Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t always nice or pleasant, but that’s the only way for growth and progress. Team learning model will definitely dig out the best of me and raise me up, up and up – all the way to achieving my goals.

team learning

– Juuli Tappura, member of the Academic Adventures marketing team