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Method 5: Suspense and wonder (Regulating the expression of and withholding one's preconceptions and assumptions)

(Regulating the expression of and withholding one's preconceptions and assumptions, preparatory orientation to dialogue II, dialogue scene 17, in English 13)

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.

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


  • the participants form a new group which frees them from the dynamics and preconceptions of the ”old” group
  • in the new group, continue with the theme that you dealt with before, in the Method called “Imprisoned by Preconceptions”
  • set aside your preconceptions and start wondering the same theme
  • change the way you participate in dialogue
  • instead of telling the others about your preconception, alter the content of your speech so that it will open new thinking
  • while you talk, reflect on the topic, its understanding and applications, as if you knew nothing about it
  • this will give your speech a positive, wondering tone; what you say will resemble a question. It will also result in you inquiring about the opinions of the other participants or expressing a budding idea
  • when you have finished wondering the theme, write down how your understanding of the topic was deepened and expanded
  • share these changes with the other participants in your group.

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 surprised you in this task?” A fourth question could be ”What did you understand through 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 suspending and expressing one's preconceptions and assumptions which enables them to continue practising on their own in real life situations. In practise, suspending the expression of one's thinking can often lead to a situation where an individual, after having heard what others think, no longer wants to share their own original preconceptions. This may happen because the new information gained from the dialogue changed the said preconception or added to it, or because someone else already expressed the same opinion.