Transforming Schools, Transforming Society through Dialogue

What we need most in society today is dialogue.  Dialogue that is constructive.  Dialogue that is reflective.  Dialogue that is respectful.  Dialogue aimed at reaching resolutions to problems.  Dialogue that is most fundamentally an act of listening.  

Listening that is really listening, not just waiting for your turn to talk while another person speaks.  Listening to what others are saying in order to understand where they are coming from and why they think the way they do.  Listening empathetically.  Listening with an openness to different points of view and the experiences of others.  Listening that is the basis for responsiveness.  

Responsiveness that gives your perspective compassionately, offering the reasons for your positions in the journey towards reaching a shared objective.  Responsiveness that builds what has been received with care, then given back differently.  Responsiveness that has carefully sewn together many diffuse old parts into one, unified collaboratively made new creation.   

This dialogue debates what we think and how we live without declaring a winner or a loser.  This dialogue inquires deeply into the theoretic bases of what we believe and how we act upon those beliefs in our practices, getting to what is at stake in addressing the common issues we face and stretches us toward a new understanding and the innovation of new solutions.  

This dialogue has to be learned.  This is fundamental to the Contemporary Education Framework: to dialogically understand the world together by using knowledge as a tool for making more conscientious, intentional and meaningful decisions about how we live our lives (individually and collectively).  Through dialogue about what makes us human - what we all have in common (our needs and our real world activities), yet what are differences are (our practices and our theories) - we can create a broad repertoire of possibilities to deliberate about in relation to the real world choices we make and how they impact us and our world.  If we can teach and learn dialogically we can transform how we relate to one another and change our societies to be more collaborative, constructively critical, creative, connected and caring.  We can cultivate more sustainable, just and peaceful societies, which all begin with making education, at its essence, dialogical. 

“The seeker of truth should be humbler than dust.” Gandhi

Image Source: The Dance by Henri Matisse
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To transform education in order to move humanity forward to face the challenges of the 21st century, increasingly globalized world in a collaborative, creative, critical, connected and caring way.

The founder and primary contributor to Education for Contemporary Times is Sarah O. Weiler, long-time educator with a M.A. in Global Education from the University of Illinois and a M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at the prestigious Institute of Education at the University of London in the UK.
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