Dialogue with pupils

One of the most impressing event of my life I can say.. It was promising lots of excitement at the planning phase..and it was.

When Heidemarie W. Pietzka, my DUO at this workshop, proposed the idea I immediately thought about how we are going to transfer the methodology. Then I said to myself "trust in the process" and my DUO partner has already had experience in organizing a workshop with pupils. I was worried about how we will make them understand the core features. We needed to be understandable because our target group was at the age of 10 which means we had to be concrete, not abstract. So we decided to give only 3 core features which are "slow down", "listen deeply", "speak from the heart" with attractive pictures.

The students were from a public school in Ankara and since they have been told a week before they were very excited too. The workshop consisted 2 parts. At the 1st part we introduced ourselves with explaining the reason why we are there. Since we sat in circular arrangement we had the didactic center in the middle during all parts. We explained the meanings and how the material they see there is used. We had a scarf, a singing bowl, a ball as a talking symbol and 2 pairs of core features in white papers with pictures. The core features we used are "Slow down", "Listen deeply" and "Speak from the heart" in Turkish. Then we asked them to introduce their selves and we asked them to walk to the center, to ring the bowl before they say their name. While the sound of the bowl was still heard they came near to us, got their name cards which we prepared beforehand and went back to their chairs. We aimed to make them get acquainted to the sound of singing bowl and understand slowing down and respect each other.

After introduction part we introduced core features and the meaning of them. We practiced the dialogue session with asking them what they want to talk about. They learned very easily but we had to remind them the core features because as a result of their age they were not patient sometimes and some of them were much eager to express themselves.

After a coffee break when we came back to the room we posted several sheets of the topic of the session on the walls in a visible way for all of them. Before we start the session we reminded them the core features, how to act when they want to talk, what ringing the bowl meant during the session. Then we introduced the subject and the time frame. We needed some silence breaks during the session because of reckless pupils. As reminders we showed the core features when necessary.
We asked the pupils change places for the reflexion part which took place after the dialogue session. At this part we asked them how they felt about dialogue. They told us that they got very excited before the event and after it happened they are happy that they had an experience like this.

The main objective of planning a workshop with pupils is to introduce the methodology at their very early age. At this young age they are already aware of communication problems, they suffer from not being listened. We believe that "as the twig is bent so is the tree inclined", it has been a most remembered memory for them for their whole life.  

Sharing the experience with an expert dialogue facilitator has contributed to my personal development. I am grateful that she lit this idea. All photos and videos during the implementation of the content and reflexion part has been done by Peter Seier. Rabia Vezne, my colleague, helped us for the necessary translations. I am thanking them a lot.

Since we emphasized that they are young pioneers of Dialogue their pride on having an experience of dialogue was so visible. They told that they will share the method among their families and friends. Some thought of using it at the class environment.


First Transnational Dialogue Workshop

17th of December presented me a gift this year too. My first dialogue facilitation took place in Ankara with Peter Seier, how difficult it is to define him; a close friend whom at the same time so easy to work together and entertains you with many special personal properties, a musician, a fantastic story teller where you feel like you've been one of the characters. And ... I had the chance to have my first workshop with this intelligent man :)

Another speciality of this workshop was that we had Heidemarie Wünsche Pietzka, developer of DIA-FCC project and one of the trainer of the project, as the evaluator of our workshop. I am thankful to her not only for providing trainings at the Training of Trainers but also the support she gave during the workshop. After the workshop we had 2 hours reflection upon our training.

This workshop has been the first transnational dialogue workshop organised by YIMEM & Strategy Transnational and it has been run by the trainees Peter Seier from Strategy Transnational, Germany and Ferda Selem Adıgüzel from YIMEM, Turkey. It took place in Ankara, Turkey on 17th of December 2011 and lasted approximately 7 hours including breaks and lunch. Attendants were Turkish, teachers and women from work life who were speaking fluent English. The workshop language was English and it consisted 2 parts. In the first part before lunch, DUO’s, the evaluator, Heidemarie Wünsche Pietzka, and participants introduced themselves and the dialogue methodology has been introduced by us . A clear distinction between “discussion” and “dialogue” has been drawn. Core features of dialogue®, the implementation method of dialogue and didactical centre have been introduced to the participants with several teaching methods.
At the second part, the room has been settled with a didactic centre proper to dialogue session. The subject of the round was interculturalism and what interculturalism meant to us. Before introduction of the subject general rules have been repeated. The attendants were very communicative so it started a bit fast without leaving any space to thinking. To slow down we rang the singing bowl to serve as a reminder to slow down. Dialogue session would have been more challenging if the attendants spoke in their language. In general the atmosphere of the round was easy going without any problems.
After the dialogue session reflexion part took place. At this part we had the access to the inner world of participants and how dialogue touched their feelings. They stated that dialogue is much better way of communication since it depends highly on listening deeply and slowing down. According to the participants the main problem arises from not listening deep enough and rush in communication. They also stated that they can use the methodology in their daily lives such as in family and work environment.

® To make core features more understandable we drew an analogy such that;
We thought “dialogue” as a table with 4 legs and named the legs as Perception, Building a new perspective, Listening and Talking. We especially stated that features form a whole, one may belong to another classification as well. Classified features looked as follows:
-          Slow down
-          Embrace the paradox of differences
-          Suspending assumptions and certainty
Building a new perspective
-          Create a “container”
-          Radical respect
-          Adopt the stance of a learner
-          Practice a spirit of inquiry
-          Listening deeply
-          Observe the observer
-          Openness
-     Speak from the heart