Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Talk's not cheap

In our first day back from winter break, students and I dusted off our discussion skills. We created a grab bag (or Frisbee, technically) filled with paper slips on which we'd written "specific topics that people talk about at this time of year." We reviewed different ways to participate in a conversation, which I'd introduced in December -- inspired by Melissa Perlman and A.J. Juliani's discussion game. A random generator picked six students to form a spontaneous discussion group charged with talking for five minutes about one topic they picked while peers observed and later offered fishbowl feedback. Among subjects explored: football, New Year's resolutions, vacation destinations, holiday foods, climate change. Through this process, our awareness sharpened. We started to identify sweet spots where discussions stayed on topic enough while still exploring intriguing tangents, where participants permitted sufficient silence for unexpected ideas to sprout without tumbling irretrievably into dead air, where emerging mindfulness began to outstrip self-consciousness.


5 comments:

  1. The powerful of talk moves and conversational skills can't be overrated. I'm sure your students had fun doing this and gained some insight into what promotes meaningful dialogue.

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  2. What a great idea. It's not stealing if you shared it, right?

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  3. What a positive way to start the new year. Sounds like your discussions are powerful ones for all.

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  4. Brilliant concept useful in classrooms of all ages... & clever idea using disc for grab bag (taking a flyer?).

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