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Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Dialogue tools

Creating a dialogical moment means that certain tools, or dialogical actions, are used in kindling a dialogue and in keeping it going. Certain methods can be used to learn these dialogical actions. Dialogical actions can be consciously learned. This requires one to observe, reflect on, evaluate and self-regulate one's actions and behaviour while engaged in a dialogue. 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. Dialogical actions are the following:

  • opening one's incomplete thinking
  • compact expression
  • forming unbiased open questions
  • closed questions
  • responding to inquiries
  • focused continuation
  • word-for-word continuation from previous utterance
  • recognising key utterances
  • opening key utterances

Methods, tools for creating a dialogical moment, have been designed on the basis of dialogical actions. The methods included in this card are based on those dialogical actions in the use of which obvious deficiencies have been perceived. Closed inquiries, focused continuation and responding to inquiries are not included because it is assumed that the principles of these actions are sufficiently familiar to the users of this method card.

By using the methods for creating a dialogical moment, everyone can create situations where the dialogue continues, it is lively and creates new understanding. It is important that everyone learns to direct their attention to their dialogical actions, one at a time. Conscious observation helps one see what kind of development a particular action requires. The dialogical actions are practised until they become automatic processes.

In addition to learning dialogical actions, these methods can be used to create dialogue-based learning and knowledge creation situations. Choose a method and decide how to use it in order to teach certain theoretical or practical skills/knowledge. Once every dialogical action has been used often enough, the desired action will have become an automatic process. Alternate between the methods to create dialogue-based situations. This will result in every participant learning to participate dialogically in face-to-face and online communities.

Method 1: ”Let ideas bud and flourish”
The goal of this method is to learn to express one's thinking even when it is nothing more but ideas in the bud – in other words, to learn not to care whether one's thinking is particularly coherently organised at the time of expression or whether it makes any sense. The objective is to learn to contribute to the dialogue by understanding that expressing incomplete ideas is permitted. The speaker understands that everyone participates in a dialogue within the framework of their present thinking, and that doing so allows that thinking to bud, to develop, and makes it possible for understanding and knowledge to increase.
Method 2: Reformulate and tidy up
The goal of this method is to learn how to express your thinking in a brief, concise manner – even when you feel that you have much more to say. The objective is to learn how to “tidy up” your expression so that it becomes clearer.
Method 3: The art of inquiry
The goal of this method is to learn how questions can be used to open another person's thinking and to help them develop their thinking further or to stimulate collaborative knowledge creation. The objective is, therefore, to learn to form unbiased open questions. Questions are unbiased and open when the personal opinion or view of the person asking the question is not expressed in that question; thus the question contains no material that might lead the person answering that question to respond in a certain way. The objective is to learn to start a question with an interrogative pronoun and to ask short questions. This makes it possible to open another person's thinking exactly as it is, without having one's own thoughts influence that thinking. A skill in itself is realising to ask the other person about their thinking in the first place!
Method 4: Linking
The goal of this method is to learn how to continue the dialogue from the previous speaker's utterance in a word-for-word manner which results in a chain-like structure of the dialogue and makes it possible to probe the topic deeper. Using word-for-word continuation helps you concentrate on the topic and makes the dialogue proceed in a manner that is reciprocal. It helps the participants focus on the theme of the dialogue instead of jumping from one topic to another.
Method 5: Catching hot words
The goal of this method is to learn to recognise key utterances, or so-called hot words in another person's speech. The objective is to understand how recognising key utterances helps you to discover various new approaches to the dialogue.
Method 6: Delve deeper
The goal of this method is to learn to open another person's thoughts below the surface, to delve deeper into another person's thinking. The objective is to learn to open the key utterances in another person's speech and to inquire more about those utterances by asking open, unbiased questions. The participants strive to ask more and more questions about the key utterances in order for the understanding to deepen and to become more complete. At the same time, the understanding of the participants may increase.