60 second interview with Myles Kunzli
Myles has been development consultant with the Law Centres Federation (LCF). He has a background in the Australian legal aid system having managed a Law Centre and acted as a PLE coordinator and development worker.
Do you do PLE?
I used to, in the Australian Legal Aid system. These days I try to incorporate it into my job by encouraging and resourcing others to do it.
What is your favourite example of PLE?
An Australian Law Centre had a great PLE worker with excellent group facilitation skills. He would work with various community groups in role playing their own real life situations and then workshopping the knowledge and skills needed to resolve them. It was a great example of how gaining legal knowledge is often only one small part of the PLE process. The really important bits are incorporating the interpersonal skills needed to solve or prevent problems. It’s also interesting how bringing people together often politicises a common issue and so PLE is an important tool in civic participation and political engagement.
Why do you think PLE works?
Well, I guess the question of does it work depends on what you want from it: prevention of problems; increasing access to the law and services; increasing self-reliance; community action; law reform, etc. But, I guess like any learning, it works when it is relevant to people’s lives, and people have the opportunity to practise their learning in a safe and comfortable environment. The ultimate test is the positive difference it makes to people’s lives. As a PLE provider that as an outcome is much easier to track in the short term than the long term and may also be much broader than your learning objective.
What is the biggest challenge your organisation faces doing PLE?
Resources – time, funding, relevant skills and priorities.
What is your top tip for doing good PLE work?
Relax. You’re probably already doing it to some degree – formally or informally. Just be more conscious of the learning opportunities that are present in a range of situations and respond appropriately.
More about Australian Community Legal Centres
Published: 22 March 2010