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

Method 1: Symmetrically (Symmetrical participation)

(State of mind for engaging in dialogue, Symmetrical participation, dialogue scene 1 and 6, in Eng-lish 1 and 5)

The goal is to learn how to participate in dialogue and knowledge creation in a symmetrical manner. This means a balanced participation where a participant both shares their own thinking and listens as the others share theirs. One takes space to express one's thinking and gives space for others to express theirs in equal measure.


  • the participants form groups of 4-5 persons
  • the members of each group stand in a circle
  • each group receives a warm-up topic that is relevant to the learning goals or knowledge creation – in this context, for example, the topic could be “Problems in participation”
  • when a participant takes space, they move to stand in the centre of the circle
  • the participant standing in the centre of the circle briefly (in a few sentences) explains their thinking about the topic
  • the participant moves to stand back in the circle, thus giving space to another participant
  • each participant gives and takes space as often and as much as everyone else
  • while one participant speaks, the others listen carefully and focus all their attention on the speaker
  • the participants take space in a random order
  • the dialogue lasts for about seven minutes
  • in these small groups, the participants talk about their experience of symmetrical participation

Reflection in the learning community: The whole group jointly reflects upon their experiences of the task and thinking that it caused. One useful question for this reflection is ”What did you become aware of during this task?” Another, more demanding question, is ”What did you learn from this task?” The purpose of the reflection is that several participants, not only some, share their thinking and experiences. When the reflection part is completed, every participant has gained an understanding of what it means to participate in dialogue in a symmetrical manner. This enables them to continue practising active participation and letting go of egocentricity in real life situations.