Dialogue, Claremont Core

Learning Objective 1: Articulate contemporary theories and practices of dialogue

Artifact: Dialogue Week 1 (PDF)

Rationale: In our first assignment I applied this learning objective to my discussions about the key principles of dialogue: attentive and inclusive listening, suspending judgment and understanding voicing vs speaking.

Change: This course has changed my perspective on what good dialogue is – moving it from a philosophical idea to an experiential realm. I now have a good understanding of how practicing dialogue provides meaningfulness into daily communications.

Learning Objective 2: Model techniques of active listening

Artifact: Assignment 1 (PDF)

Rationale: In this assignment I went through the exercise of reversing and expanding my stance on “All lives are equal and deserving of a fair chance at success” by applying active listening and dialogue techniques with a colleague.

Change: By employing active listening techniques in conversations I have been able to expand my understanding and viewpoints on social problems and society as a whole. It has allowed me to see how blocked I am sometimes in my own way of thinking, and how active listening can provide a deeper understanding through “looking at everything together” (Bohm, 2004, p. 30-31).

Learning Objective 3: Demonstrate skills that foster productive dialogue

Artifact: Collaboration Week 6 (PDF)

Rationale: In this collaboration post I went through the exercise of techniques to engage a homeless individual in conversation through productive dialogue, recognizing that the three difficult conversations would be in play in such a situation. The “What Happened?” conversation – knowing that the situation is more complex than either I or the homeless person can express; the feelings conversation – the situation feels emotionally charged; the identity conversation – the situation calls into question my identity (Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. 1999).

Change: By the teachings in this course and the book Difficult Conversations, I have begun to apply some key understandings into personal and professional communications. These include getting better at identifying the assumptions I am bringing into a conversation or situation and engaging in the “AND” stance.

Learning Objective 4: Reframe conflict for shared understanding, options, and mutual benefit

Artifact: Assignment 2 (PDF)

Rationale: In our second assignment I set out to understand the cross-cultural challenge found within nonprofits of varied education levels. This is done by reviewing three articles regarding the internal learning culture in nonprofits, their infrastructure and leadership development. By looking at the internal conflicts that arise, this assignment allowed me to learn how reframing can lead to increased options and mutual benefit in cross-cultural challenges.

Change: In this course I have gained insights into how taking a communicative perspective on bigger issues can be extremely beneficial in moving towards mutual benefit. I now find myself asking the following important questions often in multitude of situations: “What are we making together? How are we making it? What are we becoming as we make it?” (Pearce, 2007).

Learning Objective 5: Research and articulate contrasting perspectives among diverse constituencies

Artifact: Assignment 3 (PDF)

Rationale: The in-depth look at the dialogue in 12 Angry Men helped learn this learning objective, as the group of men in the movie were diverse in their beliefs and viewpoints. In this team assignment we broke down the conversations and looked at the key characters, the roles they each played in the conversation and their concerns and challenges.

Change: The change that I felt building up as the course progressed culminated in this final assignment – the considerations we need to make about what the other person is feeling during conversations, especially difficult ones. This is at the heart of understanding diverse and contrasting perspectives. Taking the time to understand these varied outlooks and not rushing to judgments is important in the realm of social impact and daily communications.

Learning Objective 6: Define the perspectives that need to be explored and information that needs to be gathered for the needs analysis for the Capstone Action Project.

Artifact: Dialogue Week 9 (PDF)

Rationale: In this dialogue post, I explore this learning objective through Eisenberg’s article.

Change: The concept of interconnectedness within our societies and moving towards fluidity in communication is key to my work in the Capstone Action Project.

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