A Welsh landscape at sunset
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I love how language evolves and changes, and learning of the gaps between the words we know and the words we learn.

I learnt a new word last week – hiraeth. It’s a Welsh word and has no direct English translation but has been described as a blend of homesickness, nostalgia and longing. It was written in the context of the things we lose when a property is flooded and everything is lost. This loss of what the sociologist Kai Erikson calls ‘the furniture of the self’.

It feels like there is hiraeth within the learning and development space. We’ve lost an identity of being the sage on a stage, the centre of the room, and the facilitator of people’s learning. Technology has watered down this role as people look for online and system based solutions. The furniture of the self for the formal class based instruction of flipchart, pens, PowerPoint decks and assorted accessories has, in many cases, been lost and the sense of loss some people feel is of a place left which will not be returned to.

I hadn’t realised how part of my work was helping people overcome hiraeth. It’s something to be aware of when you’re bringing in new techniques, processes, and support.

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