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Dialogue and Discussion: Tools for Creating and Sustaining a PLC

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1 Dialogue and Discussion: Tools for Creating and Sustaining a PLC
Professional Learning Community What Really Is It? NCSD Pre-Conference Session December 1-2,2007 Kristine Kiefer Hipp, PH.D.

2 If you want to change and improve the climate and outcomes of schooling—both for students and teachers, there are features of the school culture that have to be changed, and if they are not changed, your well intentioned efforts will be defeated. Seymore Sarason

3 The Culture Continuum X---------------------X---------------------X
Toxic Culture Communal Culture Instructional Culture

4 Senge’s Five Disciplines for Organizational Learning
Personal Mastery Shared Vision Mental Models Team Learning Systems Thinking Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline, 1990

5 Mental Models Deeply ingrained assumptions…maps, pictures, images that influence how we understand the world and how we act. We are seldom “consciously” aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behaviors, attitudes and practices. Reveal the reasoning and attitudes that underlie individual and collective practices that can either hinder or produce effective learning organizations. Examining our mental models offers educators the highest leverage for transforming the educational system.

6 An organization’s culture can be seen as its members’ collective mental models, which is why you cannot change an organization without investigating its cultural assumptions. Edgar Shein, Organizational Culture and Leadership, 1992

7 Healthy conversations move team learning on a continuum from :
X X X X Raw Debate Polite Discussion Skillful Discussion Dialogue

8 Skillful Discussion A process in which people come to some type of closure on an issue: Making a decision Reaching an agreement Identifying priorities Develops deeper meaning among members, but the primary focus is on task and convergent thinking.

9 Dialogue Dialogue is a process in which people engage in conversations where they openly share their views and develop knowledge about each other’s assumptions. Peter Senge, 1990, The Fifth Discipline

10 Dialogue Balances advocacy with inquiry
Invites learning at a deeper level Encourages us to listen on multiple levels – self, one another, and collectively…to honor differences Challenges us to suspend our judgment Is different then discussion or debate Promotes creativity and shared meaning

11 In Dialogue… We rid ourselves of thinking… Our beliefs are the truth
The truth is obvious Our beliefs are based on real data The data we select are real data Chris Argyris, 1990, Overcoming Organizational Defenses

12 “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again…Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well…Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change.” Margaret Wheatly, 2002, p.3, Turning To One Another: Simple Conversations Restore Hope to the Future

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