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Catherine Cook Classroom Dialogue Skills


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Talking about difficult topics like gender, race, sexual orientation, and class can raise anxiety for many people, and yet we must have the conversation in our schools and our lives in order to be more inclusive and change the world for the better. What are the fears and common pitfalls that keep us from broaching courageous conversations? Gain practical skills for facilitating as well as participating in the conversation.

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Catherine Cook Classroom Dialogue Skills

  1. 1. Classroom Dialogue Tools: Interrupting with Care and Facilitating Courageous Conversations Catherine Cook School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  2. 2. About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  3. 3. Agenda  Courageous Conversations  Fears and Obstacles  Interruption Skills  Facilitation skills  Practice Makes…  Discussion time  Wrap up Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  4. 4. Courageous Conversations in Our Schools and Lives Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  5. 5. Fears and Anxieties that Keep Us from Having Conversations  Offending  Losing Face  Tokenism  Professional Risk  Bursting the Bubble  Rocking the Boat  Conflict  Lack of “Authority” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  6. 6. Pitfalls and Obstacles that Keep Us from Conversing Again  Outbursts  Silence  Denial  The Good Talk  Teacher vs. Facilitator  Personal Attacks  The Quick Fix  Leadership Oppression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  7. 7. Open Acknowledgment Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  8. 8. Define the Opportunity Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  9. 9. NCBI Effective Interventions Model  Reduce Defensiveness – Tone – Body Language – Respect  Keep the Conversation Going – – – – Hear Them Out Ask Open-Ended Questions Set Aside Your Feeling for the Moment Dialogue  Build the Relationship  Win an Ally Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  10. 10. Everything You Ever Wanted to Interrupt But Didn’t Know How To…  Think of trigger events of phrases  Which ones have proven most challenging?  Which ones would you like to strategize effective interventions for?  Strategize for different people: strangers, acquaintances, friends, family members, children, etc. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  11. 11. Practice Makes… Please work in pairs: -Feed the trigger phrase -Respond -Feedback -Try Again -Repeat Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  12. 12. Sharing the Wisdom Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  13. 13. Facilitation Skills  Space  Confidence and Competence  Relationship Building  Credibility  Flexibility and Authority  Optimism  Modeling  Multiple Learning Styles Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  14. 14. Facilitation Tips  Co-facilitation  Depersonalization  Vulnerability  Relationships  Saving it for Later  Discomfort  Clarification  Listening  Hot Buttons Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  15. 15. Avoiding the Pitfalls and Overcoming the Obstacles  Powerful stories  Powerful statistics  Powerful analogies  Facilitation Skills  Welcoming environment  Clear and strict norms  Willingness to sit with discomfort Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  16. 16. Equality versus Equity Everybody gets a shirt versus everybody gets a shirt that fits. Giving everybody some insulin in equality. Giving only people who are diabetic some insulin is equity. What is “fair”? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  17. 17. Conflation of Individual/Institutional Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  18. 18. Correlation versus Causation Correlation: When income is averaged and compared, there is a strong correlation between gender and income. This is due to a myriad of historical, systemic, and economic factors that impact men and women differently in the workplace. Causation: When income is averaged and compared, there is a strong correlation between gender and income. This must be because women must not be as smart, hard-working, or good with money as men. Correlation: When more firefighters are fighting a fire, the bigger the fire is observed to be. Causation: The additional firefighters made the fire bigger. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  19. 19. Accumulated Advantages Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  20. 20. Privilege “Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.” [as described by Peggy McIntosh and quoted by Allan Johnson] Privilege is SYSTEMIC. It drives the systems that dominate our societies. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  21. 21. Situational Advantage There are prime parking spots and seats reserved for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are often first to board planes and other transportation vehicles. These advantages are situational and do not balance out systemic oppression. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  22. 22. Safety versus Comfort Safety: I feel that, in this space, I can ask questions without fear of judgment. I can voice my perspective and know that I will be validated for the fact that that is my truth. Others may challenge my ideas, but that challenge is in the spirit of greater shared understanding and growth. Comfort: I feel that, in this space, my reality will be agreed with, validated, and unchallenged. I don’t have to explain myself to be understood, and I don’t have to justify my perspective, as everyone shares it. As educators, we are constantly setting up an environment where students are safe but not always comfortable... SO THAT THEY CAN LEARN AND GROW. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  23. 23. Practice Makes… Less Heart-Attack-Inducing Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  24. 24. Structure  Groups of 6 – Facilitator – Note Taker – 2 Participants – 2 “Challenge” Roles  7 Minute Discussions  Critical Friends Style Feedback Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  25. 25. Goals to Strive For  Be Real  Don’t End Early  Don’t “Admire the Problem”  Sit With All the Feelings  Support the Facilitator Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  26. 26. Round Two Discussion Time Discussion: Should schools revamp the curriculum to include multiple diversity perspectives even if there is little to no diversity of that sort in the student or faculty/staff population? Round Two Discussion Round Two Feedback and Discussion Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  27. 27. Round One Discussion Time Discussion: Many schools struggle to have many students and faculty members of color because there “aren’t enough strong candidates of color.” What do you think? Round One Discussion Round One Feedback and Discussion Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  28. 28. Round Three Discussion Time Discussion: What is the role of men and women in the work toward gender equity and social justice? Round Two Discussion Round Two Feedback and Discussion Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  29. 29. Large Group Share What were some: Ah-ha moments Great strategies Heads up Questions or Concerns Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  30. 30. Next Steps  Attend more Train the Trainer workshops  Have more real discussions with people who affirm you  Have more real one-on-one dialogue with people who may or may not affirm you  Continue to learn and grow in your knowledge base for content AND skills Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  31. 31. Final Questions or Comments? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  32. 32. Resources • Anti-Defamation League • Cross Cultural Connections ( • Facilitation First • Jimpact Enterprises, Inc. • National Coalition Building Institute • The People’s Institute • Stirfry Seminars • The Thiagi Group Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
  33. 33. Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (