Today begins a new series called Blogging Towards Baltimore. Why Baltimore? Because that's where we'll be learning together at the International Dialogue Education Institute, Oct 24-27, 2013. Each post will help to set the stage for the Institute.
Dialogue Education Essentials
Lately, Dr. Jane Vella, founder of Dialogue Education has been thinking a great deal about the GPS that keeps Dialogue Educators on course as we design and lead learning events. She’s challenged herself and others with this question:
What are the ESSENTIALS of Dialogue Education, without which it isn’t what it says it is?
“Suppose,” says Jane, “we speak of DEE: Dialogue Education Essentials. And when I say essentials, I mean it isn’t apple pie without apples!”
Dialogue Education, says Jane, is a system - a somewhat mature system, but with all the chinks and weaknesses of any system. It is growing and developing – maturing, really – each time we do the solid research that manifests the usefulness and effectiveness of the system's components.
Over the coming months, Jane will be sharing with us her insights into the Dialogue Education Essentials, beginning today with laughter.
We invite you to offer evidence that these DEEs have worked in your diverse situations. Such precision, says Jane, can only shore up this beloved, demanding, sweet and successful-for-the-learners system we call Dialogue Education!
Dialogue Education Essentials: LAUGHTER
A Dialogue Education event that did not ring with laughter would be suspect in my eyes.
- Laughter is a physical, emotional, cognitive indicator of safety, engagement, and the relevance of the content.
- Laughter is an indicator of the relationship at work in the small group, and of the group with the teacher!
- Laughter is an indicator that the amygdala in the brain, which forces adrenaline into the bloodstream when a person is frightened or at risk, is at rest. A quiet amygdala is a physical, measurable sign of safety and of many of the other principles and practices of Dialogue Education!* (*Zull, James E., The Art of Changing the Brain 2002, From Brain to Mind 2011)
My friend Paula Berardinelli read a set of short stories I recently completed.
"Jane,” she said, “some of those stories were so funny. You have a future as a stand-up comic!"
I had to be honest.
"Paula,” I said, “at this stage in my life, I'm afraid it will have to be a sit-down comic!"
What do you think about laughter being a Dialogue Education Essential? How have you experienced laughter during learning events?