Teaching the Teachers
- 4 février 2014
- Posted by: ideadmin
- Category: Sessions
There are different ways to teach someone to swim:
1. You can let them watch while you demonstrate the strokes.
2. You can take them by the hand and climb into the water with them.
3. Or you can throw them in the deep end of the pool and see what happens.
The CREC methodology is experiential: do – feel – think – learn – change.
So the Bishops of the Philippines had no choice. It was sink…or swim.
But let me start at the beginning.
Like all good things, this beginning began with an invitation. The invitation came from the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila himself, Luis Antonio Tagle. Cardinal Tagle is one of the most communications-wise, media-savvy churchmen in the world: millions of people read him, watch him, follow him – and not only in the Philippines.
So when he invited CREC to provide a communications workshop (the first of its kind) to the 99 active members of the Philippine Bishops Conference, we felt it was an offer we could not refuse.
The Cardinal knows what he wants. He also knows his Bishops: their needs, hopes and strengths…as well as their fear of water. So he presented us with a two-fold challenge:
1. To coax the Bishops into the world of social media and help them understand why they must at least get their feet wet.
2. To throw them into the murky depths of a media crisis and teach them how to stay afloat.
Neither of these challenges can be understood by giving theoretical lessons in a lecture hall.
In order to understand them, you have to experience them. And in order to experience them, you have to call in the experts to help. Which is exactly what we did.
40 young members of the Pauline Family – novices and religious of the Daughters of St Paul and Pious Disciples, and priests and seminarians of the Society of St Paul (who also provided the technical back-up) – literally took the Bishops by the hand and introduced them to the marvels and mysteries of modern media.
It was something wonderful to behold: the teachers being taught by those who know best in the field of social media. At the end of Day One, the Bishops had gone from pulpits to podcasts, from homilies to home-pages, from sermons to selfies. Their faith was on Facebook and they were teaching with Twitter.
And that was only half the miracle.
The “Big Bang” came on Day Two when the Bishops woke up to find themselves in the midst of a major media crisis regarding that most taboo of all topics: sexual abuse. Simulated newscasts and fabricated social network pages plotted the development of the crisis while the Bishops themselves faced ambush interviews and a series of press conferences that included the participation of professional journalists. They not only kept their heads above water, they survived…swimmingly.
Proof that, if you give them enough encouragement and training, most Bishops are ready to step off the pulpit – and into cyberspace.
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