"The means is dialogue, the end is learning, the purpose is peace." ~ Founder Dr. Jane Vella
Anne Smith has integrated Dialogue Education concepts into every aspect of her work at the Vermont Network. I have seen this occur in the following ways:
Designing and presenting DE-informed training
Anne redesigned a one-hour segment of our Basic Advocacy Training using DE modalities. This segment is an introduction to sexual violence, with a focus on perpetrators’ tactics. Anne worked through the design steps, clarifying her goals and desired outcomes / learning objectives. From there, she eliminated some of the original content for this segment in order to create more space for participants to engage with critical questions. The redesigned segment allowed for participants to make meaning from new content, through individual reflection, small group work, and full group discussion, with Anne reinforcing key concepts to close the segment.
Supporting colleagues in designing DE-informed training
Anne has consulted to me and other colleagues to support our own training design processes. She has helped me to transform several lecture-heavy segments of our Basic Advocacy Training into learner-driven explorations. She regularly reminds me to focus on my overall goals, and helps me adhere to a realistic balance around how much can be accomplished in the time I have available. As someone who always has “too much what for my when”, this has been very helpful. She gently reinforces the idea that learners can be put in charge of their own learning, reminding me to step back from a didactic approach that often fails to support real learning.
Supporting colleagues in incorporating DE frameworks into meetings / group processes
Within our organization, Anne has helped us plan more effectively for meetings by incorporating simple DE concepts. For example, in planning for a staff retreat in December, Anne designed a short introductory segment. This segment helped anchor people by connecting us to prior work and thinking, and inviting us to reflect on our personal connections to the issue. This was very effective in centering the group on the work to be done. Anne closed the day by asking people to reflect on how they would carry forward the day’s work.