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

Posts tagged with "Learning Tasks"

Creating the System: We Make the Road by Walking

I have the honor of working with Matthew Norman from Barcelona, Spain – a colleague and Certified Dialogue Education Practitioner (CDEP). He is teaching pastors in his church community how to use Dialogue Education in designing and delivering sermons. This is important work! Part of the content for the course is about the system we call Dialogue Education:

I suggested as part of the LNRA, that Matthew invite the pastors in his course to name and describe the best sermon they ever gave and to identify the things they did to make that sermon work so well. These factors from their experience could then be added to the content of Matthew’s course.

I have often said context is content: What these pastors bring to learning the elements of Dialogue Education from their wide experience of preaching is vital! I see that each time we teach a course using Dialogue Education we create the system by using it in a new context. Learning tasks are then custom-designed for each particular group of people, in their unique situation. That’s why we need to do a solid learning needs and resources assessment: to discover WHO needs WHAT and WHY. That is the context: the content we must learn thoroughly before we design and teach!

What an immense responsibility we carry into every classroom or workshop setting – we make the road by walking. Dialogue Education is an emerging system, evolving under our hands as we design and teach in new contexts. Please share your stories and indicators of learning, transfer and impact – we need to celebrate and learn, together.

I take immense delight in receiving learning designs, challenges, questions and celebrations. Thank you to all those who have been emailing me over the years! I continue to be here for all practitioners at janekvella@gmail.com, and offer my time to you with great joy!

 

What question do you have for Jane?

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

Tracing: From Decision Back to Principles and Practices

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?

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

One Funeral, Two Learning Tasks

On February 1, 2018 my colleague and friend Karen Ridout died suddenly and unexpectedly. When I heard there would be a prayer service a few days later to honour and celebrate her life, my husband and I jumped on a plane to join family and friends to pay our respects and celebrate her life. Karen was a beautiful person and deserved this honour.

What I was not expecting was to see and feel her Dialogue Education influence on her own church service and the church she helped to establish, Church of the Nativity in Raleigh, North Carolina.

During this prayer service, everyone present was invited to participate in two learning tasks – yup, you heard me: two learning tasks at a funeral! With a smile, the rector Stephanie Allen shared, “We can’t possibly have a prayer service for Karen without learning tasks!” Indeed.

Here’s how it went:

Learning Task #1 (in the middle of the service)

Sometimes those we love are ill for many months or years before they are taken from us. In this time, we are able to have final conversations and share things on our heart that we were not able to share until we knew our time together was short. When leaving this earth is a slow process, our loved ones (and we!) have time to close loose ends and finish the uncompleted; closure can be experienced.

However, this is not always how it works. Sometimes those we love are taken from us quickly and without warning. This was true with our dear friend, colleague, mother, sister Karen.

So in our time together today, I would like to invite you to have that final conversation you were not able to have, say the things you didn’t have time to say, or share with Karen what you didn’t have a chance to share. Indeed, she was taken far to soon.

Your invitation is:

Take a small sheet of paper and pen from those being passed around. On your own, take 5 minutes to have that final conversation with Karen. What do you still want to say to her?

If you are wondering what we will be doing with these completed sheets of paper, let me explain how this will work: If you are an EXTROVERT you will have an opportunity to share all you wish after we finish this prayer service; if you are an INTROVERT, you don’t have to worry; be assured that these papers will not be shared with everyone here but are for you to keep and do with as you wish. [These instructions were met with loud laughter – yes, Karen taught them well.]

Learning Task #2 (at the end of the service)

As we finish this service and you leave this space, I offer you one final learning task (in a way that Karen taught us so beautifully): take a small piece of paper from the table in the hall and write one thing that you are most thankful for about Karen and who she was to you. Write this down and place it in the glass bowl you will find there. These papers will be read by her children and then placed with Karen as she is cremated.

The family is deeply grateful for all that you share and all the ways you have been blessed.

I have never experienced learning tasks that were more important and more meaningful. I was moved to tears in that final conversation with Karen and so were many others, and joyous to have the opportunity to share with her all the ways she had impacted my life.

Thank you, Karen, for teaching your church and church leadership so well, and challenging my thinking about what a funeral should be.

How has this challenged your thinking of where we can use (or should use) learning tasks?

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Jeanette Romkema is a Global Learning Partners (GLP) co-owner and Managing Partner of Communications and Marketing, as well a Senior Consultant and Trainer with GLP.