I was fortunate enough to get out from behind my computer screen to facilitate a face-to-face (rather mask-to-mask) classroom program last week and interact live with learners.  It was the first time I taught with a mask and while keeping physically distant from participants… here’s what I learned.  

Address health and safety explicitly – I learned that we needed to consider as a group the Covid-19 norms for working together, and invite anyone to voice any personal concerns or additional needs.

Acknowledge the distance – I learned to discuss with the group that the masks and physical separation would make creating mutual connection and trust more difficult.  So, we collectively worked harder to make each other feel safe.

Underscore your voice – I learned that even though my voice carries well the mask covering diminishes verbal understanding.  I took care to enunciate, repeat, and use slides or flipcharts to underline my communication.

Communicate non-verbally – I learned to use my eyes more expressively, my hands more meaningfully, and my stance more vividly.  We helped each other become aware of our non-verbal language.

Express gratitude – I learned to share my gratitude with the group for the energy and the way they replenished my energy.

© Delphine Parmenter, Oct 2020