30 October 2015

Tuesday Treats - Creating space for dialogue?

How do you create space for dialogue in your busy day?

I have been thinking about the difference between Dialogue and Discussion, there is a difference. So what is it? This article "The difference between debate, discussion and dialogue" sums up the difference beautifully.
Debate is combative and seeks to be victorious; it wants to express itself and say it is better than you. Discussion can be described as debate trying to play nice. Much like debate, it is interested in advocating its view points and challenging those of others.Dialogue, on the other hand, seeks to find a shared connection. It is not concerned with winning or losing, rather it aspires to listen more deeply, understand more fully, and build a collective point of view. When the diversity of personality and opinion present moments of conflict and tension, dialogue steps in and mediates the conversation back to a renewed sense of connection.Read more: The difference between debate, discussion and dialogue 
In my new role as Pedagogical Coordinator (yes that is quite a title) I have been exploring ways to create space for teachers to come together to dialogue. Teachers are very busy human beings, there is no doubt about that, so I created an afternoon where we could come together, enjoy a treat (usually something that is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy free like this), coffee and a shared purpose. I jpicked articles based on teachers professional inquiries and invited people to join (see image below). So far we have enjoyed two Tuesday Treats afternoons using the Final Word strategy.  I have yet to seek feedback on the usefulness of the strategy or the afternoons, but I am hoping to facilitate slow-think time for busy teachers.

Coaching strategies: Final-Word Strategy

Final Word Strategy
  1. Everyone reads the article individually and highlights sentences, phrases that they find interesting. 
  2. Person 1 reads one of their highlighted sections without comment
  3. Each other person in the group comments in round-robin order about that section without interruption or comment or cross-talk from the others
  4. Person 1 who named the item in (2) then paraphrases the trends and key ideas then has the ‘final word’ by sharing their thinking about the item.
  5. The pattern repeats until all team members have read out one of their highlighted sections and had it commented on by the rest of the group.

02 October 2015

Where are you a local?

While I am not an expert in the International Schooling scene (yet), this video resonates with me. I spent most of my life in South Auckland, New Zealand. Anyone from New Zealand will understand that this is quite a different city to Dunedin, New Zealand. My family and I are currently living in a small gated community in Saudi Arabia. Our community is not really a true reflection of the 'real' Saudi Arabia and it takes some actual effort to get amongst the true essence of being a local here.

However, this video prompts me to think about the children at our international/community school. Taiye Selasi urges us to think beyond - where are you from to "where are you a local?". Many of the children in our school have affiliations with 2-3 places - how many places do you think they will be locals in by the time they are 18 years old? This certainly is food for thought....

Where are you a local?