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

DSC00591

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

generation_gap_by_vitaloverdose

 

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 »

Biesta, the Trivium and the unavoidable responsibility of teaching

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

In a postmodern view, ‘truth‘ can be thought of as an event that disrupts our thinking; if we are open to it it can lead us into a better future (Caputo, 2013).  Such events are happening all the time in the world of education; the challenge is to remain open to them, to avoid identifying too strongly with one paradigm – not to become a card-carrying ‘traditionalist’ or ‘progressive’, for example.

The work of Gert Biesta can support this ‘openness’.  Biesta helps us to a wider view of education by focusing on the question of purpose – putting the ‘why’ of education before the ‘how’.  He suggests three broad domains of educational purpose which are represented in the Venn Diagram below: Continue Reading »

Is our education system ethical?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Boy cryingI know a little boy (quite well as it goes) who cries as he lines up to go into school each morning.  His class is loud and unruly and his teacher is struggling to ‘crack them’.  I think they are disengaged – struggling to see the relevance of the majority of what they are asked to do. But I expect they will be cracked in the end – assimilated into a system that will push them through a sequence of graduated steps to a distant goal of success in paper-based examinations, like so many action figures on a production line. They will be assessed and ‘tracked’; ‘interventions’ will be put in place for those who do not progress along the conveyor belt at the expected rate. And when they reach the end, having been made compliant by the system, they may well be no more adaptable to the world that waits for them than those action figures would be. Designing tough, paper-based examinations to ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’ and then allowing the demands of these to drive the agenda for thirteen years of schooling seems to be a questionable approach to preparing our children for their futures. Continue Reading »

How important is ‘community’?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Re-housing

Our Rehousing project involving drama and P4CThe first truly Spring-like Saturday morning of the year, and I spent it in a drama studio!  Fortunately it was an incredibly rewarding morning of learning with the magnificent Nantwich-based drama company, ‘The Young Actors‘. We came together to trial our ‘Re-housing’ project with an invited audience from the local community.  This journey began when Geoff Smith (Director of the Young Actors) wrote a fascinating piece of process drama to explore the concepts of ‘home‘, ‘family‘ and ‘community‘.  Geoff then approached me, curious to find out whether Philosophy for Children (P4C) could add depth to his latest piece. Continue Reading »