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Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Method 6: Delve deeper (Opening key utterances)

(Opening key utterances, Creating a dialogical moment III, dialogue scene 38, in English 22.)

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.

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


  • the participants are introduced to the method
  • the participants pair off
  • together with your partner, talk about a matter that is important from the perspective of the learning goal; in this context, for example, “When we speak, what we say could often be called 'the tip of the iceberg'”
  • first one member of the pair speaks and the other opens the key utterances, or hot words, in their speech
  • listen to your partner's speech in a word-for-word manner
  • recognise key utterances in your partner's speech
  • interrupt your partner and try the art of inquiry: open the key utterance by using an unbiased, open question
  • listen to your partner's answer in a word-for-word manner
  • recognise a new key utterance in this answer, interrupt your partner, and open the key utterance by using an open question
  • again recognise a key utterance in the answer, interrupt your partner, and open the key utterance by using an open question
  • the roles are reversed, which means that the speaker will now inquire about thinking beneath the surface
  • finally, together with your partner reflect upon the contents of your “learning bindles” (metaphor for containers for our previous learning that we carry with us to new situations), that is, how disclosing thinking beneath the surface benefited learning
  • the dialogue lasts for about 15 minutes

Disclosing thinking beneath the surface in a larger group

The goal is to learn to ask questions about another person's thinking beneath the surface also in a larger group.


  • write on a blackboard, flip chart or on a computer an important matter that you learned today; this matter could pertain, for example, to creating a dialogical moment
  • every participant writes down one such matter, describing it in a few words
  • after that peers work in round table groups of 4-6 participants and ask each other open questions about the important matters that were written down, that is, about the key utterances
  • each participant has one chance to open their partner's thinking beneath the surface by using a couple of open questions
  • the other participants pay careful attention to the answers of others, listening to them in a word-for-word manner
  • every participant writes down for their “learning bindle” matters that they understand better as a result of disclosing thinking beneath the surface

Reflection in the learning community: The whole group jointly reflects upon their experiences of the method 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?” A third question could be “How will you change your behaviour after this?” The purpose of the reflection is that several participants, not only some, share their thinking and experiences. As a teacher, you can repeat your questions to encourage as many participants as possible to express their thoughts. When you repeat your questions, you can use the following expressions to keep the dialogue going: “What else?”, “And then?”, and “What can you tell us about your own experiences?”. When the reflection part is completed, every participant has gained an understanding of disclosing thinking beneath the surface which enables them to continue practising in real life situations.