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Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Method 4: Imprisoned by preconceptions (Awareness of one's preconceptions and assumptions)

(Awareness of one's preconceptions and assumptions, preparatory orientation to dialogue II, dialogue scene 16, in English 12)

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.

Remember to consciously observe whether your actions and behaviour follow the principles of philanthropy and reciprocity!


  • the teacher introduces the method to the participants and explains its purpose
  • The participants are instructed to write down as many preconceptions as possible about an important topic that is relevant to their learning at that point, in this context, for example, adult learners or young learners.
  • The participants first work individually and finish a sentence by using their preconceptions. The sentences could be, for example, ”An adult learner is...” or ”A young learner is...”
  • The number of preconceptions varies depending on the individual and the topic.
  • The time used for this part of the task is about 7 minutes.
  • The participants form groups of 3-4 persons (the groups must be different from the groups where they worked during the previous tasks).
  • In their turn, every participant reads aloud to their group the preconceptions they used to finish the sentences.
  • Every participant listens to the preconceptions of others without expressing objections or approval.
  • Everyone silently compares their preconceptions with those of others.
  • The task is continued in Method 5 (Suspense and wonder).

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 through this task?” Another, more demanding question is, ”What did you learn from this task?” A third question could be ”What did you find surprising about 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 how to become aware of their own preconceptions and assumptions which enables them to continue practising on their own in real life situations. Setting oneself free of one's preconceptions is a result of conscious work. When an individual becomes aware of the fact that their preconceptions and assumptions may be strongly related to the present situation and that they can and may change, they become free to examine matters from various perspectives.