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

Tracing: From Decision Back to Principles and Practices

Comments

After completing the Foundations of Dialogue Education course in Vermont with Michael Culliton, Peter Perkins and Kate LaRose, Rev. Christine MacDowall kindly flew down to Raleigh to spend a week with me. Imagine!

Christine had flown from Melbourne, Australia to Vermont to take the course, after having read a few of my books and realizing how dialogue in her educational practices as a pastor would be very useful to her congregation and to herself!  

On my back porch we laughed, ate, told a thousand stories and worked hard. Christine wanted to apply the system she had just learned and practiced to her pastoral context. “I see a number of moving parts,” she told me. “I need to see them all working together.”

“What can I do to enable Christine to put all this together,” I wondered. 

I woke one morning with the idea of TRACING – moving from the experience Christine had just had back to the principles and practices of Dialogue Education. The learning task was this: 

Read aloud the first learning task Michael and Peter set for you in the course. Look at all the principles and practices cards spread out on the table. Name one of those that might have guided Michael and Peter as they composed that first learning task.

Christine immediately saw a principle she could trace the learning task back to, and then recognized there were three or more principles and practices that could have informed the designers’ decisions.

“It seems when you use one, you use them all!” She smiled at her own wise observation. “It is an iterative system!”

We went on through five or six or more learning tasks from her experience in the course, tracing each back to principles and practices:  sequence, engagement, small group work, reflection, praxis… “Aha!” she said, “I see.”          

How can you use tracing to check your design work or maximize impact?

*****

Dr. Jane Vella is a celebrated author, educator and founder of Global Learning Partners. 

Leave Comments

School of the 80s: Learning from Leisure, Experience, and Vulnerability

Comments

I’ve been in school, one way or the other, on both sides of the desk for the past eighty years. I have never been in a school where my learning was so delightful, my appetite for it so voracious, my joy in it so deep – as this “School of the 80s.”  

As I tried to understand why this is happening, I thought of three factors that go with my being 86 years old.   

  1. I have exquisite LEISURE
  2. I have long experience to use as a base for new learning
  3. I have new VULNERABILITY

Look forward to this decade, all you young’uns. You will be amazed!

LEISURE

I remember when Julius Nyerere, first President of Tanzania, published the paper “Education for Self-Reliance” (published in 1967). The paper emphasized practicality, relevance and immediacy. “Teach them something they can use NOW,” Nyerere appealed to Tanzanian educators.  

Sister Margaret Rose, the wise and saintly woman who was the Founder of Marian University College where I was teaching at the time, argued with her friend Julius: “Without enough leisure, the girls will not learn!” 

Sixty years later, I see that in my life. Learning and leisure are partners.

A parallel invitation, from Father Robert of St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC is: “Put silence in.” Robert does that himself in the liturgy, before his sermon, and in conversation. “Put silence in.” Hmmm, silence in dialogue? Yes!

EXPERIENCE

I look back on the experience of my life with awe, thanks and praise. Every event – joyful, tragic, comic, sad – has the Grace of God in it. I can see that now and expect the next event to be so touched. That new appreciation of my experience makes it a useful base for new learning.

The learning needs and resources assessment (LNRA) and the first of the 4A model for design learning tasks (Anchoring/inductive work) - moving from the particular context of the learner to the general new skill, knowledge or attitude - both serve the use of past experience.  

VULNERABILITY

I walk slowly. I tell friends: “Don’t walk behind me. I just may just slip into reverse!” I need help with some basic tasks around the house! I forget stuff! I am vulnerable.

So, I have to ask for help and that has evoked a new Jane. I like her! I respect my vulnerability as an exquisite gift which shows a human, needy old lady who trusts friends to respond. They do! Oh, my, they do!

Somehow this relates to my capacity for learning – I am not sure how, but it does. I see perspectives that are different from mine with new empathy, and awareness that I might just need such a new perspective at this point in my life. 

Come and have a leisurely cup of tea on the back porch with the old vulnerable lady who has a store of stories for you from her rich experience and new learning!

 

How much LEISURE do you invite your learners to in your learning events?

How do you use what you know about your learners’ EXPERIENCE – past and present – to shape engaging, challenging, and relevant learning tasks?

How can you celebrate your own VULNERABILITY at any age, so you gladly ask for help?

* * * * * * *

Dr. Jane Vella is a celebrated author, educator and founder of Global Learning Partners. 

Leave Comments

Cognitive, Affective, Psychomotor:  The True, the Good and the Beautiful

Comments

Not in that order: but do you see the connection?

I was stunned, reading William Isaacs’ 1999 book Dialogue: And the Art of Thinking Together to discover the correlation between our well-tested axiom “learning is always cognitive, affective and psychomotor” and the classic theme of the true, the good and the beautiful. I had never seen that before!

To the ancient Greeks, human society was characterized by three value activities:  the pursuit of objective understanding, the subjective experience of beauty, and the shared activity of coordinated and just action. They called these three the True, the Beautiful, and the Good. p13

But of course! 

James E. Zull in The Art of Changing the Brain showed us how effective epistemology is rooted in biology. We learn as embodied men and women, boys and girls, as neuroscience literally unfolds the magnificence of the structure and processes of the brain.

I breathe a sigh of thanks and praise to the Creator; then laugh out loud in joy as more and more corroborates of the basic principles and practices of using dialogue in education are manifested. Yes!

It’s true and good and beautiful!   

What have you read lately about teaching, learning or the brain that had you pause?

​*****

Dr. Jane Vella is a celebrated author, educator and founder of Global Learning Partners.

Leave Comments

Tuesdays with Jane: Week #17

Comments

(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 16 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Reviewing the Twelve Principles and Quantum Thinking

This is a great chapter, offering a multitude of examples featuring all of the principles and the entire quantum thinking concepts. This chapter can be read again and again!

Some great lines from Chapter Sixteen:

  • “Respect for the who informs our designs in dialogue education.” p227
  • “It takes time for roles to change and for safety to work its magic towards honest dialogue.” p230
  • “…the root of [the word] doctor is the Latin verb docere, which means ‘to teach.’” p231
  • “Praxis—action with reflection—is more than practice.” p232
  • “When you invite ‘a chorus of conversations’ in lieu of your own monologue, when you invite learners to find their own voice and not listen only to yours, you invite a quantum leap into learning.” p238
  • “Our job in adult education is not to cover a set of course materials, but to engage adults in effective and significant learning.” p238

A LEARNING TASK 

You did it! You spent some Tuesdays with Jane and reviewed Learning to Listen Learning to Teach. Tell me, please, what use this has been to you.

Thank y’all!

Leave Comments

Tuesdays with Jane: Week #16

Comments

(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 15 of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.)

Accountability:  Knowing How They Know They Know

Chapter Fifteen is the story of a tough situation in Bangladesh at the Diarrheal Disease Hospital. It was an almost impossible situation:  trying to teach busy physicians a new way of teaching in a ridiculously short period of time. Everything seemed to preclude any accountability!

 Some great lines from Chapter Fifteen:

  • “[The doctors] gave their time to this educational program because they knew their present paradigm was not working.” p214
  • “I had come to teach and knew I would stay to learn.” p215
  • “If [the doctors] wanted esoteric language and studied complexity, they had the wrong teacher.” p219
  • “[The doctors] themselves asked for more hours each day. This itself was an indicator of learning.” p222
  • “…there are three things that make accountable learning happen: time, time and time.” p222

A LEARNING TASK

Speculate. What do you think happened to those twelve doctors without any system for reinforcing and supporting their learning? 

What is your opinion of my statement on page 222: “Today I am convinced that single events such as this course in Bangladesh are somewhat futile.”

Leave Comments

Page 1 of 12 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›