Category Archives: Progress School

Some Inspiration for you…


Progress School on a Page….

In which direction(s) does progress lie? What would progress look like to you?

Think about your own needs, those of loved ones, friends and family, work and finances and the wider community?

What is preventing you from moving in the direction(s) of progress?

Are the barriers to progress mainly practical or psychological?

Are any people preventing your progress?  What else is stopping you?

How might you overcome or workaround these barriers?

What are you currently doing that you need to do more of, or to do better, if you are to make progress?

What are you not doing now, that you would be doing when progress has been made?

How will things be different when you have ‘progressed’?

What do you need to develop or learn?  What experiences might help you?

What did you do differently or new in last month or year that has helped you to make progress?

What can you do differently or new in the next month that might help?

How big, bold and brave are you prepared to be in the pursuit of progress?

What Should I Expect from Progress School?

Above all else you should expect to meet a friendly bunch of people all of whom are looking to make progress with something.  They maybe trying to build a businesses, develop or find a career, push a project forward, create a better world.  The age range is usually from late teens early twenties up.  I won’t make a guess at the upper age level – but some of us have grey hair or none! The diversity of the group is one of its strengths

We share a simple model to talk about progress and how we manage our own learning and practice so that we have the best possible chance of making it.  This is not some cerebral, philosophical debate – although it will get you thinking – but an ‘everyday conversation’ of the types that you might otherwise rarely have time for!

We meet for 2 hours, once a month, to talk, explore, learn and plan how we might change things over the coming days weeks and months in search of progress, and to plan what experiences might help.

You pay what you can, but free is fine.

So  come and join us at a Progress School soon…

Progress School Leeds –

Progress School Bradford –

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. “

– George Bernard Shaw

JISC Preparing Learners for the Future Mindmap



Below is the mindmap that formed the basis of my workshop at the JISC ‘Preparing Learners for the the Future’ conference held at Leeds Met on June 16th 2011.

Preparing Learners for the Future – Self Directed Learning the Progress School Way


Progress School – Make or Break?

Progress School has had a good year in both Leeds and Hull.  But I suspect that 2011 will be make or break!

Well over 60 people have taken part in Progress School, the vast majority have been more than once, with most being regular attenders.  Feedback is very positive – with people enjoying the relaxed yet powerful format for reflection, development and building relationships with fellow participants.  Many find the monthly 2 hour slot for reflection and planning to be a powerful addition to both their professional and personal life.

My hope is that this year we can really consolidate Progress School in Leeds and Hull and get a new School firmly established in Bradford.

I am always looking at ways to develop Progress School methodology to ensure that the product is as good as it can be, while remaining low or no-cost.  The real challenge however is building membership and achieving break-even or better.

Progress School is entirely funded by its members and hosts (Fudge Cafe in Hull, Dehlicattessen in Leeds and the Gumption Centre in Bradford) who all kindly make rooms available at no charge and often throw in some refreshments too.  A big thank you to them.

So, how do we get more people to take part in Progress School?  What about more organisations?

What are your thoughts?  Are there others that you can invite to take part?

What can we do to ensure that 2011 becomes the year that makes Progress School rather than breaks it?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts….

Action Learning with Progress School?

Action Learning is a process where a group of people (an Action Learning Set) meet regularly to explore real issues that members need to tackle in some way.  I have been using action learning sets for about 15 years now and find them very powerful ways of learning.

The learning process starts with someone laying out, in some detail, an issue that they wish to work through with the group.

The group then use questions to explore the issue more fully, from a range of different perspectives, with the intention of generating new  insights and approaches.

Clearly the set member that offers the issue to be explored stands an excellent chance of getting some really practical and powerful help.  But what does the rest of the set get from the experience?

Well good action learning depends on the ability to ask really powerful questions that generate new insights, and the set provides the perfect space for developing this key leadership skill.  Members also learn to really listen, not just to what is being said, but also to what is not said.  Members will find themselves asking some of these questions of the issues that they face, and will generate new insights for themselves too.

For some time now I have been thinking about setting up an Action Learning set in Leeds.  One that has a diverse membership and a wide range of potential issues to tackle.  It would seem to complement the mainstream Progress School sessions, allowing individual members the chance to pursue specific issues in much more depth.


I would anticipate an Action Learning Set meeting on a monthly basis for a couple of hours.  A set would have between 6 and 8 members.  I would envisage us exploring a minimum of 2 issues each time we met.

Sets could meet during the normal working day, or in the evenings.  I am happy to sort out venues, coordinate meetings, facilitate the set and help people to prepare their issues to bring to the group – if there is enough interest and commitment.

I would envisage running the sets on the same basis as Progress School, namely that you pay what you can afford – but that free is fine.

So what do you think?

  • Would you be interested in joining an action learning set?
  • Do you think this would be in addition to, or instead of, your commimtment to the usual monthly Progress School meetings?

What have 2 Leeds Progress School sessions done for Louise?