Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A million dollar experience!

January 9th, 2015 No comments

My son and I came out of Santiago de Chile airport just after Xmas to start a great adventure in north Patagonia.

We cashed in some money and found out we were millionaires!!!! Well in Peso/Chilean dollars.



We are now back in Santiago and flying home soon. Packing to go out and packing to return are both long jobs. We had a great trip staying in the biobioriverlodge about 30 mins drive into the mountains from Lonquimay. The name Lonquimay means the meeting place (of the Pewenche chiefs). In the lodge we had sweet tasting water from a stream, electricity from a generator for three hours each night, and we cooked on a stove using bottled gas. The area is known as the Aaraucania region after the Chilean


Monkey Puzzle trees that are enormous in the area.

We travelled down from Santiago by road, on the Pan American highwaythat runs all the way down from Alaska to the far south of Chile. We also went through a mountain tunnel that was 5km in length (and I think the longest tunnel in S.America).

We have dome a lot of kayaking, trecking, and some white water rafting. We crossed the border into Argentina through the Icalma pass, just for a day.

It was here that Camilo and I considered a kayaking expedition around the Lagos Alumine for December 2016 (see picture below) with some practice in N.Ireland in Strangford Loch earlier that year! More to follow soon – with some rafting pictures.




Experiential Events for 2015

December 18th, 2014 No comments

Our two woodburners are keeping us warm in this damp and cold UK climate. I hope to see in the New Year of 2015 with my young son in a remote part of South America. It will be summer time over in Chile. We fly first to Santaigo then travel down to stay in the biobioriverlodge in Patagonia – so if you wonder why I am not responding to e-mail it is because there is no internet out there! I really do hope and prey KLM will manage to get our luggage out there! Last time I was kayaking out there I had no equipment and no tent and few clothes, and it was the third time my luggage was lost in transit (the previous lost luggage was for China and India). The riverlodge is a great place for adventurers, with lots of active things to do and a great place to stay – take a look on the website. I am really looking forward to the horse riding, which I havent done for years, and the kayaking, on the crystal clear lakes. My good friend and lodge owner Camilo really loves fishing, so he may well get us to ty fly fishing. On my return to the Uk I hope to be completing the more detailed planning for new Experiential Master Class events in Slovakia, Singapore and possibly Malaysia. There are more higher education lecturer development programmes booked for Malaysia in August 2015. Please do e-mail me if you need more information……..


Return to Prague

December 9th, 2014 No comments

I returned to Prague again recently to deliver a keynote speech at the International Mountaineering and Outdoor Sports Conference held at Charles University. What a lovely experience, meeting some great adventurers. I gained a few new friends: one managed to get me out running each morning at 6.30 am in the dark! The three days were packed with interesting speakers and papers and most speakers only had 15 mins to present there case so it was all rather fast and furious each day requiring high levels of concentration!

My speech/paper was about the adventages of taking a multi-disciplinary perspective on experiential learning.

The paper was adapted from a new chaper I have written for a forthcoming

Routledge International Handbook on Outdoor Education. DSC05591

Prague has not changed much, still an amazing place with superb buildings.

I am sure Charles Bridge still had many of the street artists that were there many years ago when I last visited.

The hotel I was staying in, The Krystal, was rather drab looking on the outside but the rooms were good. The hotel was clean, cheap and with plenty of people attending the conference.  One inch long Frankfurter sausages were the only hot things avaiable for breakfast on the cold mornings, but after an early run they went down very well with cheese and hot coffee! Also the tram into Prague was nearby so it was easy to get into the city.



Big Audiences

November 14th, 2014 No comments

Earlier this month in Singapore, on my 24th visit, I had the honour of working with Ministry of Education, delivering a keynote to over a thousand key personnel in secondary education. We used 5 big screens as you can see in the photos. I then provided workshops for selected participants. A long but rewarding day, looking at holistic learning and the development of co-curriculuar experience design.


The following day I delivered a lecturer development  session for staff at the East Asian Institute of Management, and we then went to the Singapore cricket club for a lovely dinner. I met with new and old friends whilst out in Singapore. I am looking to run an Experiential Learning Master Class in Singapore next August 2015, as I am also over in Malaysia working with a University and with corporate clients.

Work with British Glass is still ongoing and my education about glass continues! The Academy had a members meeting up in Sheffield this month. Glass is certainly much more recyclable than other material, and there are many new developments that will affect future applications of glass. The day with Cardiff Met University MBA went down well and I am hoping to go out with the students on a 72 Yacht in the Bristol estuary next time I am down there….now that would be exciting!  At the end of the month I am speaking in Prague at The International Mountaineering and Outdoor Sports Conference. I am giving a speech on the evolution of experiential learning then facilitating an experience mapping technique, using data from a ‘sleeep-out on the Streets’ project about developing awarenss of homelessness. The participant data was collected by an undergraduate Sheffield Hallam University student Will Russ. The last time I was in Prague was over fifteen years ago when I did some work for the British Council – it will be interesting to see how this very romantic and beautiful city it has changed.


Positive emotions: passionate scholarship and student transformation

June 30th, 2014 2 comments

There are now 49 free e-copies of my latest article published in Teaching in Higher Education on the subject of positive emotions and student transformation, courtesy of the publisher Taylor & Francis. They are on a first come first served basis. Simply click below and download…..

I believe that we are increasingly working towards a more holistic understanding of learning, and therefore of education. This means that teachers and lecturers are having to juggle with this complexity, namely we have to engage not only the student mind (knowing), but also their emotions (feelings), the actual design of the experience of the learning or education (sensing & doing something), and the two harder elements – the student sense of belonging (to people, community, country, places, natural world, spiritual) and their sense of being (learning to be, someone, a sense of indentity, presence, self, psyche, etc). For a copy of a two day sample lecturer development programme to cover these with innovative pedagogies please go to the academic page of this website.

Enjoy the article!


Faculty Inspirational Teaching Awards

June 27th, 2014 No comments

I was pleased to receive another Teaching Award this year, namely a Faculty Inspirational Teaching Award. The students here comment on good teachers and vote for staff. It is a good idea that we have been trying in our University now for a few years, along with other Awards. The students said:

1. How he looks at you as a student and try’s to motivate and get you thinking.

His innovationto get you working is key and gets me working.

2. His life and career has been so varied and incredible,I love hearing about what he has done

in his life as it has giving me such incredible ideas as to what I can do.

3. He has provided amazing support in terms of helping with not just his lesson work but other seminars as well and has such wide knowledge of every department. He’s fantastic. Most fascinating teacher who engaged me into the course.

4. A brilliant, inspiring and motivational teacher.

It is a good feeling to help and inspire others. ProfColinBeard This picture shows our Dean of Faculty (for Sheffield Business School) awarding the certificate.

I gave a tribute to my dad at his funeral this week: he was an inspirational teacher and the local paper did a full page on him at his retirement many years ago, and then the paper produced a recent ‘tribute’ to him, about his contribution to the profession. He helped and inspired so many people, and produced some top class football players also. Gary Stanley ex-Chelsea player was at the funeral and so were many other ex pupils from the school where he taught. I also found out that my dad played for Nottingham Forest at times whilst he was a student – I didnt know this!

Teaching and learning are in the blood, I guess?

I am hoping to deliver more higher education lecturer development programmes this year, and there are more planned for next June (2015|) in Malaysia annd elsewhere. I am also currently working with the Ministry of Education in Singapore on exciting co-curricular developments, and learning from experience……I will be travelling out to Singapore in October to deliver a keynote and a number of workshops. This will be my 23rd visit to Singapore, and I am really looking forward to seeing some of my friends out there.




Humans in the Mist

April 27th, 2014 No comments


One of the experiences I often encourage participants to try out is called ‘Coffee and Papers’ where people find a space to relax, then they read, then they come together to share readings and findings … here is someone occupying my hammock, on the edge of the forest up in the mountains in Hong Kong….chilling out and reading a paper called ‘Busy Doing Nothing’ by two Australian outdoor educationalists. The place where we are working is magic, and the mist cleared today so  I took a picture…yesterday I could only just see the place and thought of the title Humans in the Mist, to honour the women who have studied the great apes (see previous blogs). 

The person that invited me to work here (the CEO) was a friend who many years ago cycled around the world….his book is a great read……and he arrived back from the UK just as we had finished the course…..perfect and so great to see him after many years. DSC05012

On this course I have further developed and polished two new experiences: one called word weaving and the other called experience mapping. The former involves weaving through sets of words to create definitions, like sustainability, or feedback, or assertiveness. This was first tried with anaesthetists on a Masterclass on clinical feedback. The experience mapping involves gaining a deep understanding of participant experiences, so as to improve the experience diagnostic, design and delivery process (the 3Ds).

This trip to Hong Kong has also introduced me to a new drink…hazelnut coffee …delicious!


Just A Dream?

April 25th, 2014 No comments

I spoke at an International Conference two years ago and another speaker suggested that the world should focus on two languages, namely Chinese and English. This troubled me. When there is dominance, there is the silencing of other voices. I stood up on the stage at question and answer time and suggested something more radical. My dream is as as follows: the body and the brain work together very well. We refer to it as embodied cognition.


Before language, a pre-linguistic period (or indeed post kinetic), gestures were very important in communicating. With gesture based technologies (GBT) the body is making a return in the processes of human learning: we learn to swipe, draw out with our fingers, rotate information, enlarge etc. and this has 3d benefits too.

Speech comes out of the mouth one word at a time, and so it is limited as it is linear! Human speech struggles to describe feelings, complicated things, and movement for example. My thinking is that we learn to move into a new era as humans on the planet. As a first stage to a new evolution we might develop a univeral sign language so that we can all communicate, together, around the globe. Would that really be too difficult: after all we can get to the moon and back easily now!? On our course here at Kadoorie we are developing our own sign language…starting from just watching each other talking, observing the gestures……..and fomralising them into our new gesture based language!

Then we humans might also learn to return to our senses…….


Up the hill in Sha Tin, Hong Kong

April 25th, 2014 No comments

So from going to work along a walkway above the forest of a site which was an old tin mine in Malaysia, and saying good morning to my friend the tiger each day before doing workshops for lecturers, I am now in Hong Kong. I have just met with the people I am going to work with over the next few days. The bungalow up in the mountains where we are going to do our workshop is lovely and it has a large green space outside. So I hope the tropical storms hold off tomorrow at least as the climate is less hot and sticky compared to KL. Jane Goodall has run workshops here in the Bungalow, and her book ‘In the Shadow of Man’ (1971) is one of my all time favourites. This famous story is about her study of chimpanzees in the Tanzanian forests. I would love to meet Jane Goodall. I was asked last week what was my favourite film …..and the earliest favourite was Born Free (Joy Adamson), then Enemy of the State, then Avatar!

Is there a theme here? DSC05000

The place in Hong Kong is called Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens (KFBG) – and it is amazing. Rescued endangered animals, a botanical paradise, lots of amazing butterflies, farming ideas & initiatives, such as experimental tea and coffe plantations, urban gardening, composting, and ……educational programmes that include a day in silence, workshops exploring mindfulness, and working with the sensory world of plants…..(now that is a workshop with attitude). I am really looking forward to learning and exploring over the next couple of days. I am going to do the facilitation with a theme of appreciative enquiry; appreciating the whole person six dimensions  namely working with the appreciation of our sense of belonging, doing/acting in the world, sensing/observing, feeling, knowing/thinking, and being.  The 2Bs are really challenging…..2B (or not 2B) now that is the really hard question!

I will let you know how we all get on……


Old Tin Mine, Malaysia

April 20th, 2014 2 comments

I have jDSC04941ust finished delivering a corporate training Masterclass in Mid-Valley, Kuala Lumpur with Roger Greenaway -  a really good experience. There were some great people on our event – from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. All of us were hungry to learn and try out new stuff. Brilliant! We had a break on the first day and went to a laser quest and divided into two teams to have a shoot out. I don’t normally go in for that kind of activity but I have to admit it was great fun…to hide out and ambush folks. I think I got shot the most though so I wouldn’t make a good soldier! My son Lewis was impressed I had been as he is a seasoned laser (party) goer. After the event I dropped in on one of the participants at their business shop – GAC Adventure – in a shopping mall in KL. I was amazed at all the outdoor gear they had in stock. I bought a really lightweight quick drying hammock for adventures in Patagonia later this year.

I am really enjoying Malaysian food here – it is so delicious. So much so I cant resist Malaysian spicy food for breakfast every now and then. I am hoping that the International Conference on Experiential Learning will consider Malaysia (for a superb location) after it has been held in the States in July next year.

I am also working with lecturers at a University in KL, delivering a special HE teaching and learning excellence programme. The picture here shows the location on an old tin mine. The site is now a complex mixutre of leisure activities, hotels, shoping malls (with ice skating facilities) and a university. There is a vortex water shute, bungee jumping, surfing with artificial waves, and a giant arial jungle walkway. 25,000 trees were planted on the site and it is now home to a considerable amount of wildlife that has moved in as the surrounding areas are developed. The tiny humming birds are beautiful.

Then I move on to work in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong connection is a friend who cycled around the world many years ago and I met him on the Masters in Outdoor Management Development which I designed with my outdoor colleagues in the University some years ago. What is amazing is that I discovered he and Roger also know each other well. It is a small world!DSC04968

I am reading a new book called ‘Looptail’ by Bruce Poon Tip, about his adventure company said to be the most successful adventure tourism company in the world. His employees were apparently given the title of Chief Experience Officers (C.E.O.s) – someone rang the company and asked to speak to the CEO…’which one?’ was the reply…..’how many have you got?’ said the caller…..’lots’ was the reply…clever!

The experience economy lives on! But what next after the experience economy?