Social learning and conversational moves
Conversational movesHere are just some conversational moves you might like to try throughout this course:
- Ask a question or make a comment that shows you’re interested in what another person says.
- Make a comment that underscores the link between two people’s contributions – make this link explicit in your comment.
- Make a comment indicating that you found another person’s ideas interesting and useful. Be specific as to why this was the case.
- Contribute something that builds on, or springs from, what someone else has written. Be explicit about the way you’re building on the other person’s thoughts.
- Make a summary observation that takes into account several people’s contributions and that touches on a recurring theme in the discussion.
- Disagree with someone in a respectful and constructive way (Brookfield & Preskill 2005, p. 188).
Learning with and from your peersDiscussions are generally difficult to start and maintain (they often devolve into a question and answer session or to monologues), so it might take time to practise the skills involved until they become a natural part of your online learning experience.Don’t be put off if your initial attempts don’t seem to go anywhere; persevere and give yourself plenty of opportunities to learn through practice. It’s a process of learning, and because it’ll be new for many learners – and possibly for you – allow yourself time to fail or to be ineffective. But keep honing your skills, keep trying new things, keep reflecting on what worked and what didn’t and how your learning is impacted through a more deliberately collaborative and social approach to online discussion.I know we’re all pushed for time, but while you’re here, engaged in the process of learning, give one or two of the conversational moves a go and see how they feel. Reflect not only on what it means for your own learning but also what it means for the ways you contribute to others’ learning.
Your taskWhat might be some of the challenges to engaging in conversational moves in this course?How might you overcome these challenges?Why might you choose not to overcome them?
Brookfield, SD & Preskill, S 2005, Discussion as a way of teaching: tools and techniques for democratic classrooms, 2nd edn, Jossey Bass, San Francisco, California, p. 188.
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