WAYK Podcast, Episode 20: April’s San Francisco Workshop

Elisabeth and Dale play WAYK using technique “Pairing”.

1 hour, 15 minutes, and 51 seconds.

[direct download]

1. Technique “Agile

  • Why did we offer a WAYK workshop for IT professionals who belong to the Agile software development community?
  • WAYK teaches “teacher-trainers”.
  • WAYK is a pattern language; a mentoring language that (in an open source, ever-improving fashion) codifies the successful strategies involved in teaching and learning.

2. Technique “Chartering

  • Our highest value: the most rapid emergence of fluent proficiency in any skill, in any community.

3. Technique “Goal Conversation

  • We wanted to apply WAYK to something that might appear as a work practice in a dialect of Agile software development.
  • We also wanted to train our “language hunters“, while we still had them in the workshop, to use their skills without hesitating.

4. Technique “Language Hunting

  • You need to learn to “language hunt” fluently before you can start applying the WAYK mentoring language to other skill domains (such as Agile).
  • Evan thinks it takes a minimum of 1 to 1½ days, in an WAYK immersion workshop, for fluent “language hunters” to emerge.

5. Technique “Critical Mass

  • With 10 attendees at the workshop (we only had five), we could have vastly accelerated the workshop.
  • The more people, the more dynamic the process of shifting “inner circle” and “lunatic fringe” by calling “Full“, and so on.

6. Technique “You go first

  • We “set-up” a pretend “language hunting” scenario for three spoken languages; Japanese, Chinuk Wawa, Norwegian.
  • Anders, our Norwegian attendee, set a record for the fastest Chinuk Wawa hunt ever!

7. Technique “Teach a Teacher

  • We overheard some newbies say to another: “We’re going to teach you Norwegian now!”

8. Technique “Tea with Grandma

  • To prep for hunting spoken language, we “set-up” an archetypal “language hunting” scenario, with Evan pretending to be Deaf, ASL-fluent Grandma.

9. Technique “Shared Experience

  • Willem gives clues – “Grandma loves tea – and she doesn’t like coffee.”

10. Technique “Limit

  • Limiting the objects to the “tea” theme.

11. Technique “Obviously!

  • The need for a less-confusing tea mug.
  • The hunt for a perfectly white mug.
  • It’s all in the planning.

12. Technique “Set-up

  • Arranging the “hunting pack” around Grandma, without scaring her…
  • Establishing a “limited” array of objects; one color, few materials.
  • Grandma was nervous – the “angels” and “lunatic fringe” were arrayed about her in an intimidating fashion.

13. Technique “What’s that?

  • Anders kicks the conversation into gear, by asking the first question you ever want to ask in “language hunting“.

14. Technique “Full

  • Some of the hunters called “full” in front of Grandma, confusing her a bit. Also the rotation of “fringe” to “inner circle“, though perfect form during a WAYK game, during tea with Grandma tended to bewilder her.

15. Technique “Craig’s List“.

  • They start building “craig’s lists” on their own.

16. Technique “Hunting Pack

  • It takes a lot of teamwork to trust that while others are hunting, you can be building “craig’s lists” in the background, and running a WAYK game to solidify your fluent proficiency.

17. Technique “Make me say No…

  • Dale triggers a correction response, by asking “is that a black spoon”? This gets Evan to say “No, that is a white spoon”, revealing the word for “white”.

18. Technique “Make me say Yes…

  • Dale then “sets-up” another round, to reveal the names of materials; paper, plastic, ceramic.
  • “White” and “like” are very similar hand-signs; Dale thoroughly investigates whether he understood Evan correctly.

19. Technique “Set-up

  • Dale even pulls the word for “clear” out of Evan!
  • Anders perfectly “sets-up” the question “where’s my bread?”, by “accidentally” dropping it under his chair.
  • Michael “sets-up” a conversation about sweeteners to put in tea.
  • Michael discovers the word “fake” – a very abstract concept! How did he get it in a conversation about “tea”?

20. Technique “Craig’s List

  • Michael decides to extend the colors “craig’s list” by hunting for “yellow”.

21. Technique “Hunting Pack

  • Evan and Willem wish they could take the “language hunters” they trained at this workshop with them on language revitalization programs. They’re really good. Sigh.
  • The  team then pretends to be on a plane-ride home from Grandma.

22. Technique “Organizing Principle

  • The team starts troubleshooting organizing the “craig’s lists“, using different themes.

23. Technique “Novice Listing

  • They needed to move on from just listing though…even if it was highly-skilled “craig’s listing“. Listing is a Novice behavior!
  • They bumped it up to  “Intermediate proficiency” by throwing the “craig’s lists” into a “want/have/give/take” conversation.
  • Evan wishes he could have debriefed “Tea with Grandma” – important insights would have emerged, but we just didn’t have enough time.

24. Technique “the Walk

  • Critical group fluency emerged during the second morning’s “Walk“.
  • Michael told a story about hang-gliding off the balcony. Whew!

25. Technique “Speed Dating

  • By applying techniques “Set-up“, “You go first“, and “Modeling”, we were determined to inspire “language hunting” after the workshop.
  • This looked a lot like “speed dating” – a few paired “language hunting” games.
  • We began by pretending Willem was a Russian-speaker wearing a “I Heart Speaking Russian” standing at the bank, with Evan next to him in line.

26. Technique “How do you say…?

  • If you have a common bridge language (such as English) in the beginning, don’t be afraid to use it for a little while.
  • Evan’s first question to Willem’s Russian-speaker: “How do you say “What is that?” in Russian?”.
  • His next question (while pointing at a red pen) “Well then, [in Russian] what is that?”.

27. Technique “Bridge Language

  • Elizabeth asks Evan (while paired with him, hunting his Chinuk Wawa), “Do you speak ASL?”. Evan can’t help but say “yes!”. Very cunning…

28. Technique “Agile

  • We applied it then to a practice that might be done by an Agile software developer (in this case, Michael).
  • It would be very easy to talk theoretically about how one might apply it…but we were determined to use techniques “do something“, “modeling“, and “you go first“.
  • We set a 15 minute time-box in which we needed to decided upon a “same conversation” to start with. And then: action!

29. Technique “Imagine You’re in a Cafe in Spain – a decelerator

  • Don’t pretend to be where you want to be – go there! “Set-up” the real conversation (or as close to real as possible).
  • Fortunately, our host Elisabeth designed Agilistry studio (our workshop space) to accurately simulate an Agile environment.

4 thoughts on “WAYK Podcast, Episode 20: April’s San Francisco Workshop

  1. Another great podcast that makes me better at WAYK.

    I still don’t get how to use WAYK for a non-language skill. It’s like you ran out of gas there. Oh, you did… 🙂

    I also still feel a little uncertain about how to go beyond Want/Have/Give/Take with a language. I mention that because in both cases I haven’t actually done it. Again, actually doing WAYK is required to understand WAYK.

    All in good time, I’m sure.

  2. Jay-
    Yeah, we almost did run out of gas!

    You’ll kick yourself when we show you how to extend the game past want/have/give/take, and apply it to other skills. It’s like hearing the answer to a riddle; it’s only obvious after you hear it.

    We do need to get a workshop on over there for you, in Port Townshend or Seattle, at some point. Hrm! If you fill it, we will come!


  3. I totally believe you, Willem. When I saw the first WAYK video, I was stunned. It was so simple. The emperor has no clothes, because the climate is mild. (Actually his outfit was carefully prepared to make him look naked.)

    Then I tried to explain WAYK, but couldn’t get the message across, and decided that you have to play to get it.

    I taught bicycle repair on Saturday (really) and was thinking about how to apply WAYK. The only thing I picked up on was my urge to explain lots of details that would have Sorry Charlie’d my student.

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