Publication Date

2006

Abstract

The Crimson Ark Regional Training Institute (RTI), an agency providing training for Bahá'í communities in the Mid-Atlantic area, utilizes a curriculum designed by the Ruhi Institute in Puerto Tejada, Colombia, for developing the knowledge, skills and awareness needed for spiritual community development. Whereas each course has both theoretical and practical components, it has been especially challenging to encourage participants to carry out the community building practices associated with the curriculum text. This paper seeks to address this issue from the perspective of those who lead the trainings, exploring how we can better facilitate the training process, to ensure that the activities are conducted and participants are equipped with the intended capabilities. The paper begins by comparing and contrasting the Ruhi curriculum with pedagogy of the oppressed, themes of critical consciousness building, and liberation theology. Qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to the RTI's activity in Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC is presented and analyzed through a process of action research, exploring the dynamics of increasing the desire and ability to be of service to one's community. The paper then concludes by outlining actions to be taken by those who facilitate and coordinate the trainings, including: doing the practices for oneself and then creating and setting up opportunities for participants to practice their skills, sharing learnings between study groups, and strengthening lines of communication between coordinators, tutors and participants.

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