Thinking through Dialogue

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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In the previous post I made an argument for the educational importance of dialogue, suggesting that it has value both as a means of education and as an educational endpoint in its own right. I have also suggested (following the ideas of Rupert Wegerif) that dialogue, or dialogic thinking, is an integral part of gaining conceptual understanding. In this post I try to offer some challenge to the idea that it is not possible, or at least not valuable, to teach ‘general thinking skills’ which, I argue, emerge from dialogues. Continue Reading »

Dialogue as a Means and as an End

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

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Yin and yang – complementary forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. They give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another (Wikipedia)

 

In this post I make an argument for dialogic education in terms of the possible purposes and aims of education. I also suggest that dialogue is not only a pedagogical tool for achieving these ends but is actually an intrinsic part of the ends themselves. Continue Reading »

Relationships, Dialogues and the Liberation of the Young

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Ulysses Arch

 

Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untraveled world, whose margin fades for ever and for ever as I move.” Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

 

Relationships are essential in education. This is a truism with which few teachers would argue. We all work to create an environment in which young people feel safe, valued and free to learn. But perhaps relationships are also the gateway through which our young people can access their full cultural inheritance; perhaps they are Ulysses’ arch to the untraveled world. Continue Reading »

What is Dialogic Education (and why should I care)?

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

In the glossary of our forthcoming book ‘Dialogic Education: Mastering core concepts through thinking together’, Professor Rupert Wegerif defines Dialogic Education as ‘Education for dialogue as well as through dialogue’, adding that its defining aim is ‘that students get better at dialogue’.

The term ‘dialogue‘ is often used as a synonym for talk, but in this context it means something more specific.  In the first figure below, taken from Wegerif’s book ‘Mind Expanding’, we see two people talking, but with their minds closed to each other’s ideas.  They have access to only one point of view – their own – which they believe to be the one valid perspective.  This is not dialogue, but monologue, and the thinking of the participants is not dialogic, but monologic.

Continue Reading »

Community Values: The Final Dialogue

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

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Our inter-generational dialogue project ended recently with a meeting between Year 8 students from St Thomas More Catholic High School and Residents at Pickmere Court, a supported housing project in Crewe.  The project, funded by Crewe Town Council and run by myself and colleagues at TYA Creative, was intended to address the British Values agenda in a meaningful and educationally purposeful way, with a particular emphasis on building understanding between younger and older generations through dialogue.  The first post in this series explored the thinking behind the project, whilst the second and third posts explored our work with the older and younger generations separately.  Here we describe what happened when the two groups were finally brought together. Continue Reading »

Community Values from the Perspective of the Young

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Using drama to explore concepts with Year 8

Exploring concepts with Y8

Crewe Town Council recently gave a small grant to TYA Creative and me to develop a project around British Values, with a particular emphasis on developing understanding between young and old in the town.  We see this as an opportunity to address the British Values agenda in a meaningful and educationally purposeful way.  In a previous post we summarised our work with residents at a care home in Crewe.  Here we describe our work with a group of Year 8 students in a local secondary school.  Our next post will describe what happens when we bring young and old together for the final ‘inter-generational’ dialogue. Continue Reading »

Community Values from the Perspective of the Old(er!)

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Engaging in dialogue in the care home

Engaging in dialogue in a Crewe Supported Home

 

Crewe Town Council recently gave a small grant to TYA Creative and me to develop a project around British Values, with a particular emphasis on developing understanding between young and old in the town.  We see this as an opportunity to address the British Values agenda in a meaningful and educationally purposeful way.  In a previous post we outlined the thinking behind our approach.  Here we describe our work with at group of residents at a supported housing scheme in Crewe.  Our next post will describe our work in local schools, before a post describing the final inter-generational dialogue. Continue Reading »

A Dialogue Between Old and Young – (British) Values in Action

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
Generation gap

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Crewe Town Council recently gave a small grant to TYA Creative and me to develop a project around British Values, with a particular emphasis on developing understanding between young and old in the town.

We see this as an opportunity to address the British Values agenda in a meaningful and educationally purposeful way that will meet several of the criteria set out in the DfE’s advice to maintained schools – to develop self-knowledge, to encourage respect for others and to encourage students to contribute to their communities, for example. We believe that facilitated dialogue, augmented by process drama, will allow us to achieve this; we hope to engage young and old together in a dialogue around the values they hold to be important.

We are still in the early stages of the project. What follows is an explanation of the thinking behind our approach; subsequent posts will describe our work in a supported housing project and in schools. Continue Reading »

Reason Across Difference

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
Holding different perspectives together in tension

Holding different perspectives together in tension

 

We are bringing our children into a pluralistic world in which they will encounter many perspectives different to their own (as continues to be underlined by cultural clashes around the world). How they engage with these perspectives will make huge differences to their learning, their wisdom, their relationships – and even their safety. Teaching through and for dialogue can help children to make the best of an encounter with ‘the other’.  Here are some ideas that support this view: Continue Reading »

The (Multiple) Purposes of Science Education

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Biesta’s model of the multiple purposes of education (see previous post) provides a framework for exploring big questions about the aims of schooling.  But can it usefully be adapted to help the leaders of individual subjects to explore the purposes of their provision, and ultimately to develop a driving vision?

In recent meetings with science subject leaders (at KS2 and KS3) I have suggested the following model as a starting point for discussing the broad purposes of science education and then for developing a set of more specific aims and a vision statement. Continue Reading »