Home Dialogical warm-up Dialogic attitude Preparatory orientation
Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Clarity and liveliness of dialogue

A dialogical orientation refers to the actions that make dialogue and knowledge creation non-fuzzy. It is possible to consciously learn such an orientation. This requires one to observe, reflect on, evaluate and self-regulate one's activities while engaged in a dialogue. The dialogical actions are the following:

  • taking and giving a turn
  • being present and concentrating
  • word-for-word reception and coding, listening
  • awareness of one's preconceptions and assumptions
  • regulating the expression of and withholding one's preconceptions and assumptions
  • staying on the other person's speech.

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the following methods and ask yourself how the dialogical action in question helps you to advance towards your goal. Listen to the dialogue scene of the web service “Deep Learning through Dialogue” that is mentioned in connection with each method, because listening deepens your understanding of the method. Improved mastery of even a single dialogical action greatly helps the progression of dialogue and contributes novel, unexpected ideas to common thinking and collaboration.

By using the methods of dialogical orientation, everyone can participate in collaborative thinking and knowledge creation processes in a learning community by contributing to non-fuzzy dialogue. Non-fuzzy dialogue is lively and does not stray from the topic. It is important to learn to direct one's attention to one's dialogical actions, one at a time. Conscious observation helps one see what sort of development a particular action requires. The dialogical actions related to non-fuzzy dialogue are practised until they become automatic processes. In an optimal situation, a person has an opportunity to learn these actions already during one's childhood or adolescence.

Learning and knowledge creation situations that are based on the methods can be designed and carried out in various ways. Choose a method and plan how to use it in order to teach certain theoretical or practical skills/knowledge or how to use it in knowledge creation situations. Once a certain method has been used often enough, every participant will have learned to work in the way required by that particular method. Alternate between the methods to create dialogue-based situations. For a theme of dialogue and collaborative knowledge creation, choose a topic that furthers the participants' thinking or develops the target topic. You can also ask the participants to choose an appropriate theme. Display the method to the participants and give them the instructions.

Method 1: Dialogue tickets
The goal of this task is that the learners learn to regulate their participation in dialogues and collaborative knowledge creation situations so that every participant speaks as well as listens to the others. The objective is that every participant is given a turn to speak or will speak and that every participant is given a turn to listen or will listen. The rhythm of taking turns to listen and to speak becomes internalised.
Method 2: I am present here and now
The goal of this task is that the participants learn to be present and concentrate on the moment when they are engaged in a dialogue with other people. Knowing how to be present and concentrate enables you to keep your turns shorter and talk in a more concise manner. In addition, it helps you to pay more careful attention to what the others say. In this state of being consciously present, you are more alert to what you and the others say. The objective is to learn to shut off everything that goes through your mind and that might interfere with how you express yourself and how you receive information. If you know how to be present and concentrate, your mind remains clear and tranquil for expressing yourself and receiving others' speech.
Method 3: Word-for-word listening
The goal of this task is that the participants learn to receive another person's speech in a word-for-word manner – to listen to every word. The opposite of word-for-word reception is randomly bundling up another person's speech and filling gaps in information on the basis of one's own assumptions. The objective is to learn to listen in such a manner that all the information related by another participant is available to the listener exactly as it is. This will help one steer clear of the drawbacks of assumptions and imagining caused by randomly received information.
Method 4: Imprisoned by preconceptions
The goal of this task is to learn to recognise and become aware of one's preconceptions and assumptions. This awareness influences the way one shares those preconceptions with others and the way one views the preconceptions and assumptions of other people. The behaviour that results from this awareness reflects an opportunity and an ability to use various approaches.
Method 5: Suspense and wonder
The goal of this task is that the participants learn to suspend the expression of their preconceptions and assumptions when necessary. In other words, they learn to wait before expressing their preconceptions and assumptions if the situation so requires, and even to refrain from expressing them altogether. As a result of learning to suspend the expression of their preconceptions, the learners will be free to wonder and to genuinely participate in collaborative knowledge creation.
Method 6: Stay a little while, Staying
The goal of this task is to learn to sufficiently stay on another person's speech as a situation requires, which enables the participants to continue the conversation about a certain topic of a dialogue. The objective is to learn to slow down a dialogue so that a certain issue can be reflected upon a little longer. The goal is to nurture the budding ideas that emerge during the dialogue so that they will survive and can be further utilized in deepening understanding.