“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
I would like to begin this task reflecting on that quote of Pablo Picasso. Many people think “inspiration” as being mystical and somehow supernatural thing. For me, inspiration is the alignment among desire, will and action. A mind walking in search of solution will find ways to get there.
I decided to study more about The Dialogue because I understand the Dialogue is the most effective educational tool ever invented by mankind. Sure It’s not something new. However, the Dialogue has been forgotten in recent times. It’s must bring this practice back in education.
For talking about the Dialogue is must remember Socrates and his Maeutics. (By the way, I had a honor to watch a very good class of profa. Maria Augusta Romão da Veiga Branco about Socratic Maieutics in the beginnig of this semester. I learning a lot, thanks, Augusta!)
Therefore, my inspiration starts with the Socratic Dialogue concept as a cooperative work based on asking and answering questions to stimulate the critical thinking and to draw out ideas and find the truth.
Now we live in the world of complex systems, it is not possible to solve problems alone. It is must to think together and the Dialogue is a suitable method for thinking together. For that, Willian Isaacs gave the title “The Art of Thinking Together” to his book about the Dialogue.
For Willian Issacs, the definition of the Dialogue is precisely “to think together”. Therefore, I decided to read the book “The Art of Thinking Together” with the objective of extracting ideas to introduce the Dialogue as a educational tool in my classes and also to get insights on how to develop this important skill: to think together to solve complex problems.
I’m convinced that thinking together is a Professional key competence, but it is not properly encouraged and learned during education time.
Already at the beginning of the book, Willian Isaacs presents a very strong and poetic image associating the ancestral talking around the fire with to thinking together.
The second thing I learned from Willian Issacs: Debate is diferent to Dialogue .
Although both use critical thinking as a tool, the purposes are different. The Dialogue as it said before, aims to find the truth, build knowledge, share thought, while the debate aims to establish the best argument, then at the end of a debate there will always be winners and losers.
In my opinion this is the trap of current education. We have prepared our students to be “fencer” of ideas, but not a collective thinkers.
I recommend the article of Liz Karagianis based on Isaacs book that emphasizes the Dialogue “is essential to solve the large problems of a multicultural, global society”. Can you see it in:
In the RoadtoPeace Blog, dedicated to researching the origins of terror toward eventually enabling dialogue among people, I found a simple, and meanfull concepts about levels of communication:
The levels of communication are:
- Edict (one way, master and slave, only recourse is violence),
- Argument (emotions prevail, a winner and a loser or two losers, violence possible),
- Debate (most logical case wins, in eyes of third parties),
- Dialectic (seeks compromise, both sides give and agree), and
- Dialogue (earnest, mutual search for “truth” in harmony as well as it can be known; partnership in mutual interest results.)
If you want more, you can visit:
How does the Dialogue process work? William Isaacs states four elements are needed. These elements are “mental states” wich dynamically produce dialogue. They are:
LISTENING — We must listen not only to others but to ourselves, dropping our assumptions, resistance, and reactions.
RESPECTING — We must allow rather than try to change people with a different viewpoint.
SUSPENDING —We must suspend our opinions, step back, change direction, and see with new eyes.
VOICING —We must speak our own voice. Find our own authority, giving up the need to dominate.
In order to create a efective process of the Dialogue is required exercise, practice, training and … perseverance!
The following figure summarized the route of the Dialogue in the Willian Isaacs view:
Source: Isaacs, William. Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life. New York: Currency, 1999.
Finally, what is the first requirement to establish the dialogue process in the classroom? Many people can disagree with me, but I think it’s must bringing people together in a circle. So how about we change the layout of our classrooms as a firts step?