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

20 Images x 20 Seconds: A Tool Worth Considering

Comments

Tired of “death by PowerPoint?” Do you struggle with dull, endless, listless, droning presentations? It doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’ve attended a PechaKucha Night in one of the more than 800 cities around the globe, it’s probably occurred to you already that his could maybe work in the classroom to make things a little more zippy.

“What’s PechaKucha (PK)?” you ask. Well, it’s a presentation format that started in Tokyo in 2003. Each presentation is made up of 20 slides and each slide advances automatically after 20 seconds. The result is a high-speed, high-energy experience for both presenter and audience.  (Check out the PK website for lots of example presentations.)

I’ve used the PK 20X20 format in a university setting with Japanese English as a foreign language (EFL) students. The results have been overwhelmingly positive: improved skills, increased confidence, engaged audiences, and heightened community satisfaction. Here is a student 20x20 presentation.

As an EFL teacher doing a lot of content-based instruction, I’m mostly concerned with teaching language skills. If there’s time and energy remaining, I’ll work on critical thinking skills. I sometimes ask my students to do reflective discussions and/or journaling for feedback. Sometimes I’ll ask students to prepare questions for post-presentation discussions. All these are concerned with language skills primarily. I use 20X20 because it meets so many needs while being an entertaining, engaging experience.

Why it works for me

The slides are highly visual and low on text. Presenters tend to talk about the ideas illustrated by the visuals instead of reading the screen to the audience.

The time factor helps the teacher manage things on presentation days. When you know it’s going to be 400 seconds exactly, you can easily plan how many presentations to work into a class period.

Nobody dies of boredom. If it’s bad, it comes to a merciful end at 6’40”.

The time factor makes practice do-able. Practice is the single most important issue determining whether a presentation succeeds or fails. A presenter can practice one of these eight or nine times in one hour. Supervised practice can be part of classroom work. And with increased practice, presenters tend to do better in areas of voice inflection, gestures, posture, movement, and eye contact—all vital parts of a successful presentation.

The time factor also forces presenters to work within strict boundaries to create something compelling. As one of my students put it, it reminded her of haiku. What she meant is: it’s compact, it follows rules, and in doing so, the meaning somehow overflows the boundaries.

And yet it’s flexible. It’s possible to work it out in teams with say, two or three people working on one 20X20 presentation together. Or doing mini PKs of ten slides.

Try it out with your students, your colleagues or at your next meeting; attend a PechaKuchaNight; or, create a 20x20 and present it yourself. It’s fun, easy to use and helpful.

What ideas do you already have about how you could integrate PechaKucha into your Dialogue Education approach?  If you have experience using PechaKucha, what tips can you share with the rest of us? 

For a fuller understanding of PechaKucha and the 20x20 presentation tool, read the article “Helping Students Develop Skills for Better Presentations: Using the 20x20 Format for Presentation Training” by Mark Christianson and Sylvan Payne (Language Research Bulletin, 26, ICU, Tokyo).

* * * * *

Sylvan Payne sylvanjpayne@me.com teaches academic English skills in the PACE Program at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.

Leave Comments

Three Levels of Listening: Café Conversation, Part 3

Comments

[This post is the last in a summer series of three posts on Three Levels of Listening. Want to learn more?  We invite you to read the first and second post, and download the tipsheet Three Levels of Listening.]

Imagine this:

You are sitting in a café with two colleagues that you consider friends and have just had an impactful conversation with one of these friends who was just notified by text that his brother was taken to the hospital for chest pains. After listening for a few minutes as your friend speaks about how important his brother was to him, he leaves with you and the remaining friend sitting in awkward silence at the café table.

As you sit in silence, you realize several things at once. One, you had completely ignored this friend during the previous conversation. Two, you actually don’t know this friend as well as the other one who just left the table. And three, you would like to call it a day and go home. So with this in mind, you completely ignore your inner urgings to either address the awkwardness or leave the café and instead launch into how nice the weather is this week and ask if your friend has any plans for the following weekend. As your remaining friend launches into a detailed account of how her dog is pregnant and about to deliver puppies your mind wanders. You hear words like “multiple colors” and “quiet corner” and are immediately reminded that you need to get flowers for the living room for when your parents visit on Friday. You then try to concentrate on what your friend is saying but as soon as you hear “trial run” and “low cost” you are reminded that you need to get vitamins because your iron is low…and that reminds you that your knees have been hurting from all the extra running you’ve been doing recently. And then you realize that your knees are hurting right now – better get those vitamins as soon as possible. And as you start writing down your growing shopping list you completely phase out your friend’s words and are now planning your own weekend activities. Meanwhile your friend is oblivious to your obvious lack of focus and attention.

After adding a few more items to your shopping list, you realize that your friend is winding down and that you both will be ready to head out the door soon. Yay! Can’t wait to get my shopping done.

Level One – Listening to Self

To review Part I of this blog series: there are many aspects to listening, and we are looking at listening from the viewpoint of three distinct levels. Level One is where you listen to what is happening inside of you. Level Two is where you listen to another person with focus and attention. Level Three is when you listen to the broader emotional field, or dynamic, around you. We all take in information on these three levels, but we are not always paying attention to all three levels. The story above is an example of Level One Listening. The two friends were more aware of their own thoughts than of what was happening with the other person.    

Imagine that you can turn a knob to fine tune your listening to pick up on the emotional field or dynamics happening within yourself. 

  • Think of a time in the recent past when you were very aware of, focused on, and in sync with your own thoughts, feelings and physical and spiritual self. What was that experience like?   
  • Now think of a time when you were very out of sync with your own wants, desires and needs. What was that like? 

Reflection

  • What benefit is there to being aware of and listening with focus and intent to yourself?
  • In a learning event, how might you use Level One Listening to enhance your learning experience? 
  • What do you do when you are distracted by thoughts in the middle of a conversation? Is it effective? Does it promote active listening or detract from it?
  • How comfortable are you with Level One Listening? 
  • As a leader, how might you use Level One Listening to lead more effectively? What kind of information will you glean from listening to your spirit, soul and body as a leader?

Practice

Let’s practice! Over the next week, twice a day spend about 7 minutes writing out (longhand) exactly what you are thinking, feeling and experiencing physically at that moment. What do you notice? What have you been thinking or experiencing for a long time but have not paid attention to it? What new awareness is showing up? What do you want to do about it?

Are you willing to take on the challenge? If so, please post your learning in the comments section below and let’s learn together what Level One Listening has to offer us this week!  

****

Wendy Balman wendy@wendybalman.com is an ICF professional certified coach, a consultant and a coach trainer practicing in Chicagoland, IL, USA. Her passion is to provoke people to deeper learning and to grow their capacity to creatively address life’s challenges and opportunities with joy. 

Leave Comments

Please Do Not Discuss

Comments

Discuss is a word I do not use. I will not discuss anything because I hear in that word a tone of: Listen to my perception! It is the right one!

Dis – cuss: ORIGIN late Middle English ‘examine by argument’): from Latin discuss- ‘dashed to pieces,’ later ‘investigated,’ from the verb discutere, from dis- ‘apart’ + quatere ‘shake.’

So, in a discussion, we shake apart the issue!

That’s not what I want learners to do. I want to examine it, gently, humbly, reverently– listening to diverse perceptions with respect for the diversity in the room.  Lavishly affirming each offering as honest, and congruent with the speaker’s context and stage of life.

My perception of an issue, at 84 years of age, is not that of my sweet grandson who is 22! I am still trying to learn to listen (and not interrupt), to accept his youthful perception as honest, to search with him through dialogue for all of the potential of the question or issue at hand.

We are not adversaries. I love to say: If you want to be my enemy, your work is cut out for you!

In a dialogue, we are fellow searchers, so the Learning Task is a series of open questions:

  1. What one guideline do you use for yourself when you are designing a learning session?
  2. Read over and mark these principles of Kurt Lewin.
  3. What words or phrases in these principles moved you? 
  4. What one way might any one of these  be useful to you in your designing and teaching?

Consider how more specific and useful these questions are compared to “Discuss the principles of Kurt Lewin.”

Discussion or Dialogue? You, as designer, do need to make a choice.

Selected Principles of Kurt Lewin

  • Effective learning will affect the learner’s cognitive structures; attitudes, values, perceptions; and behavioral patterns.  That is, it always involves cognitive, affective and psychomotor factors

  • People will believe more in knowledge they have discovered themselves than in knowledge presented by others.

  • Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.

  • Acceptance of new ideas, attitudes and behavioral patterns cannot be brought about by a piecemeal approach - one’s whole cognitive/affective/behavioral system (ideas/feelings/actions) has to change.

  • It takes more than information to change ideas, attitudes and behavioral patterns.

I invite you to take a look at your designs.  Wherever you use the word discuss in a learning task, try to put these ideas into action and see what you get!  What differences are you now seeing that you didn't before?

****

Want to move beyond discussions in your designs?  Join us at one of our two remaining foundations courses this year! 

Leave Comments

An Interview with Christine Little, GLP Partner

Comments

This is part of a series of interviews conducted by Kate Larose, GLP's Director of Strategic Partnerships, with people who believe deeply in the power of dialogue to influence learning that lasts. Today's interview is with GLP Partner, Christine Little

[Chris facilitating a knowledge sharing event in Rwanda for United Nations Capital Development Fund in Rwanda.  Due to Ebola outrbreak travel restrictions, half of the audience ended up having to join in virtually at the last minute.]

Kate Larose (Kate):  What’s your favorite axiom, and why?

Christine Little (Chris): Telling is not teaching.  And, I would broaden that last word.  Telling is also not leading. Telling is not creating the change. In the world of organizational change, there is a lot of emphasis on getting your story straight, mapping the path and selling it. We talk about "drilling down" and "rolling out" our message.  We spend too much time building our slide deck, and not enough time inquiring, listening and learning.  

[Chris (right) with GLP Partner Valerie Uccellani (left).  A day at the beach during the GLP annual retreat.]

Kate: Name 3-5 of your favorite facilitation skills. Describe what you use them for and why they’re favorites.

Chris: The open question. A good question unleashes our best thinking.  It surfaces ideas and feelings. It makes undiscussables discussable. Even a confusing question, or an ambiguous question works. It doesn't have to be perfect.  It just has to be authentic, a question where I am genuinely curious about how it will be answered. That genuine curiosity leads to my next favorite skill…

Listening. If I am genuinely curious about what others are thinking, then I listen as they answer. I hear their words and want to discover the meaning behind those words. I don't feel responsible for resolving all their doubts, or interjecting my own experience. I can let go of my need to be helpful, and instead, create the space for others to explore, make meaning.

Silence. Sitting quietly with our thoughts, even in a room full of people. We don't have enough of this in organizations. We are driven to produce. We have all those emails to answer.  We have meetings scheduled in half-hour increments. So we are thinking and talking at the same time, often while checking our phones. I used to think silence was a waste of precious face time. Now I think of this as an investment in the preciousness of that face time.

[Chris at UPEACE with fellow facilitator and Education 2.0 course participants.]

Kate:  When you attend learning events that are not learning centered, what’s your biggest pet peeve?

Chris: Pet peeve: "participation" instead of dialogue. It looks like this: questions that are designed to elicit a right answer, rather that questions that are designed to elicit something new. Activities that are designed to alleviate boredom, rather than activities that are designed to put the question to the group. When doubts or disagreements are placed in the "parking lot" rather than explored or at least acknowledged.

Leave Comments

Three Levels of Listening: Café Conversation, Part 2

Comments

[This post is the second in a summer series of three posts on Three Levels of Listening.  Stay tuned for the last post in this series, and download the tipsheet Three Levels of Listening in the meantime!]

Imagine this:

You have just attended a learning event, one you did not design, and you found it absolutely engaging and enjoyable. You met up with two colleagues, who you also consider friends, after the event and before you have even ordered coffee you share the words that are coming to mind that describe your experience at the event. It was like a “beautiful orchestra”, it was “musical”, “freedom” and “love”. Your friends describe their experience as well using words like “lively”, “friendly”, “intense”, and “peaceful.” What a great event!

You are now sipping your black coffee and reliving the enjoyment of the event with your friends when you notice a shift in the emotional field (the dynamic of the conversation) and sit up and look more closely at your friends. You realize that one of your friends has stopped talking and is looking down rather dejectedly. You’re surprised because this friend was so animated only moments before. You pause mid-sentence, take a breath, and ask your friend if everything is okay. Your friend sits quietly for a moment and then speaks in a low voice that he just got a text message that his brother was taken to the hospital with chest pains. You lean in to better hear your friend as he describes how important his brother is to him and how they had been making plans to go on an extended bike trip over the summer.

As your friend continued to speak about the trip and his summer plans, it was like the world around you disappeared and all you saw was your friend and what he was experiencing. The clatter of coffee mugs faded into the distance and the din of voices around you disappeared. It was just you and your friend.

The moment shifted almost as soon as it had begun as your friend decided to leave and head straight to the hospital. You say your goodbyes, offer your prayers and suddenly just two of you are left at the table.  

Level Two – Listening to Others

To review Part I of this blog series: there are many aspects to listening, and I’d like to draw your attention again to three distinct levels. Level One is where you listen to what is happening inside of you. Level Two is where you listen to another person with focus and attention. Level Three is when you listen to the broader emotional field, or dynamic, around you. We all take in information on these three levels, but we are not always paying attention to all three levels. The story above is an example of Level Two Listening when the two friends connected in a focused way and the world around them seemingly disappeared.   

Imagine that you can turn a knob to fine-tune your listening to pick up on the emotional field or dynamics happening within another individual.  

  • Think of a time in the recent past when you were very aware of, focused on, and in sync with another individual. What was that experience like? What happened to time…did it speed up? Slow down? 
  • Now think of a time when you were very out of sync with someone you really care about. What was that like?  

Reflection

  • What benefit is there to being aware of and listening with focus and intent to another individual?
  • In a learning event, how might you use Level Two Listening to enhance your learning experience? 
  • What colleagues do you naturally seem to be able to listen to at Level Two? What colleagues is it hard to get in sync with?
  • How comfortable are you with Level Two Listening? Why may this be so? 
  • As a leader, how might you use Level Two Listening to lead more effectively? What can you do to be more present (not distracted) and connected to the people you are talking with?

Practice

Let’s practice this week! What if you were to pick two people this week that you were going to practice listening to more intently? You know that you tend to rush ahead with your thoughts whenever you talk with these people. What would it be like to be fully present and listening without giving in to distracting thoughts?

Are you willing to take on the challenge? If so, please post your learning in the comments section below and let’s learn together what Level Two Listening has to offer us this week!  

Stay tuned for another post soon on Level One Listening.

****

Wendy Balman wendy@wendybalman.com is an ICF professional certified coach, a consultant and a coach trainer practicing in Chicagoland, IL, USA. Her passion is to provoke people to deeper learning and to grow their capacity to creatively address life’s challenges and opportunities with joy. 

Leave Comments

Page 1 of 35 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›