A colleague recently offered me this valuable reminder: “If we want this to be a place where people can think deeply without pre-determined answers, there needs to be time and space to do the reading together, not to mention a spirit of open-ended inquiry when we actually discuss it.” Don’t tell me that email is all bad!
With that eloquent challenge rattling around in my head, and working within my most immediate locus of control, I asked my still relatively new English class to think about how we talk to each other. I started with this slide:
Then I moved to this slide:
After that exercise, we had a huge repository of conversational possibilities to sort through and discuss. I reminded them that how we talk — and convene — can end up defining the kind of class we are, the kind of school we are, and even the kind of country we are.
My colleague’s original challenge sent me back to Peter Senge’s work, too. It’s an oversimplification, but the move from discussion to dialogue seems like a step in the right direction.
And if you want to meander a little bit further, there’s some interesting leads in this RW post.