"The means is dialogue, the end is learning, the purpose is peace." ~ Founder Dr. Jane Vella

Tuesdays with Jane: Week #11

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(Tuesdays with Jane is a virtual learning series for those wishing to read or re-read Jane's books and immediately apply their new learning to their workplace. In preparation for this task, read Chapter 10 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Learning with Ideas, Feelings, and Actions:  Using the Whole Person

This chapter is deeply emotional for me:  the experience is still alive in my bones! I choked up when I read it recently. And it is about ideas, FEELINGS, and actions—how  about that!

There are stories within stories in this dense chapter:  about courageous honesty, unthinking domination, the intense experience of STARPOWER and the daring improvisation, painful recognition of an inglorious past and the kiss of peace. My own apprehension and lonely decision-making are at once a dark and enlightening frame.

This chapter has much to teach!

Some great lines from Chapter Ten:

  • “…on the one hand, they all wanted more clarity of their role; on the other hand, they were all afraid someone would tell them what that role was.” p152
  • “For the first time in my life I saw a priest cry.” p157
  • "Out of different cultural paradigms they responded differently, but with a unity based on nothing more than their shared humanity.” p159

A LEARNING TASK: 

Name some things you have done in your designing and teaching that reflect the power of this principle:  learning involves cognitive, affective, and psychomotor aspects… and the power of the stories in this chapter.

What do you think? Can a chapter in a book really teach?

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Tuesdays with Jane: Week #10

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(Tuesdays with Jane is a virtual learning series for those wishing to read or re-read Jane's books and immediately apply their new learning to their workplace. In preparation for this task, read Chapter 9 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Learners as Decision Makers:  Harnessing the Power of Self through Respect

The memory of those weeks in Nepal gave me chills of joy and excitement as I read Chapter Nine! The snow capped mountains, the Himalayas! The spirit of that group of Save the Children Nepal expert staff! The laughter in that dirt floored stable!

I think this is my favorite story in the whole book because it is dense with learning: principles, practices, examples, situations used to evoke new thinking, and new actions!  

Wouldn’t you love to talk to Durga today?

I must confess that I was in tears as I read page 145 on Ram Bhal’s design for the closure of the workshop!      

Some great lines from Chapter Nine:

  •   “The content of a course is sheer potential, waiting for learners and teacher to develop it to fit their context.” p130
  •   “Durga … pointed proudly to himself, saying, ‘Subject!’” p130
  •   “Imagine a toothache six days walk away from a dentist!” p131
  •   “They named the stable gaiko got: ‘the place of learning.’” p133
  •   “Education and training are only as good as they are accountable.” p134
  •   “’Talk, talk, talk,’ she had said. ‘All they do is talk, and we… we learn nothing!’” p136
  •   “Perhaps the best part of this dialogue education approach is that the teacher learns, changes, and grows.” p146

A LEARNING TASK: 

What struck you most in this chapter? What ideas, attitudes or skills from this chapter have you used in your designing and teaching?

Where is your personal gaiko got?

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Tuesdays with Jane: Week #9

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(Tuesdays with Jane is a virtual learning series for those wishing to read or re-read Jane's books and immediately apply their new learning to their workplace. In preparation for this task, read Chapter 8 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Praxis:  Turning Practice into Action and Reflection

Chapter Eight shows an almost impossible training situation in a distant island republic on the most distant small island of that nation. The diversity of the learners—from many different organizations—and the breadth of the mandate from Save the Children was overwhelming. Without the collaboration of Karen and Michael, I might well have given up! However, I made enough mistakes for all of us to learn a great deal!

I found many lessons for my present life as I read the story and remembered the blue-green water and bright blue skies of that island event. This chapter can be praxis for you as you read about and picture the action, and consider what you might do in such a demanding situation!

Some great lines from Chapter Eight:

  • “We do indeed evoke the world we perceive.” p118
  • “They knew they knew, because they had just done what they were learning. Their practice was becoming praxis.” p120
  • “What we did in the training room is what they would do in the villages.” p121
  • “When you do not know what to do next, admit it and get some help from colleagues.” p123
  • “Mustafa Hussein put it clearly: ”We see now that change is from the heart!” p126

A LEARNING TASK: 

Describe when your mistakes proved a rich source of learning for you and the group of learners. Why do you think the mistakes described in this story are so helpful to your learning the value of praxis?

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Tuesdays with Jane: Week #8

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(Tuesdays with Jane is a virtual learning series for those wishing to read or re-read Jane's books and immediately apply their new learning to their workplace. In preparation for this task, read Chapter 7 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Sequence and Reinforcement:  Supporting Their Learning

Chapter Seven is a poignant memory for me of an incredible experience with beautiful people. I was certainly the learner in this story from the back porch of a migrant workers’ shack in North Carolina.

Again, the principles of sequence and reinforcement were appropriately demonstrated in this situation. Many other Dialogue Education principles are also evident:  their respect for me, the engagement of the young man with the bloody toothache, and the kindly laughter that encouraged us all. The lessons they taught are operative in my life today! How can we create for our children events that bring them into intimate contact with the other?   

Some great lines from Chapter Seven:

  • “Prepare the field before planting seed.” p105
  • “If anyone were to visit our back porch language lab, they surely would have suspected that I, in my casual dress, was the migrant worker and the men were sophisticated language consultants from the Caribbean.” p109
  • “Some indicators of success in teaching are more moving than others.” p109
  • “’Reserve judgment, Jane, for the first ten years!’” p110

 

A LEARNING TASK: 

Describe a time when you realized you (the teacher) were learning more in the teaching/learning event than anyone else in the room!

Who is the other in your life now? Describe a time when you had occasion to meet the other.

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Tuesdays with Jane: Week #7

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(Tuesdays with Jane is a virtual learning series for those wishing to read or re-read Jane's books and immediately apply their new learning to their workplace. In preparation for this task, read Chapter 6 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Sound Relationships:  Using the Power of Friendship

Dr. Margie Ahnan and I go way back—to a Save the Children workshop in Indonesia in the early eighties! We played tennis, drank wine, and talked into the wee hours when she came to visit me in Raleigh. Margie wrote to me once from Jakarta where she was doing clinical work and teaching midwives and doctors about the power of dialogue in health care:  The tigers are loose in Jakarta! Margie is herself a tiger!

This chapter is profoundly rich. If I had one chapter to share with students of education, it would be Chapter Six where many teachers speak:  Margaret Wheatley, Robert Sigmon, Dana Zohar, Thomas Kuhn, Kurt Lewin, Donald Oliver, and Carl Jung.

This chapter offers concrete actions, principles in practice that worked eminently well in this one situation. The Design Challenge expands these principles by inviting the reader to imagine further actions in his or her own context.

 Some great lines from Chapter Six:

  • “The power relationship that often exists between a ‘professor’ and learners is a function of a system where power is often used to dominate. Our efforts through education to build a world of equity and mutual responsibility cannot be designed without attention to the power of sound relationships.” p86

  • “…mutual responsibility cannot be designed without attention to the power of sound relationships.” p86

  • “The first sound relationship is with oneself.” (as quoted from William Blake) p89

 

A LEARNING TASK: 

Remember a time when you, as teacher, developed a meaningful relationship with a student. Tell what you recall happened for that student because of your relationship. Name some other principles and practices you have used to show respect to learners and assure their learning.

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