What do we care deeply about? What is already working? How can we build on our success?
Community conversations are being used around the world to address complex challenges, to problem solve, to pull people together, to stimulate change and action, share resources and to find innovative solutions. Education in the 21st century is increasingly complex. We know that people act on the things they care deeply about. Sometimes people need a space to address issues of concerns and challenges which can then be motivating to act collectively. An appreciative inquiry approach toward building educational capacity maintains a focus on strengths and possibilities:
What are your hopes and dreams for your child/your community?
How is improving literacy related to that dream?
How have you/your organization been successful in supporting literacy in the home/school/community?
If you could do anything to support literacy what would that be?
Dialogue –comes from the Greek words “dia” and “logos” (through, meaning) ; the flow of meaning between people, meaning comes from experience and learning and shapes our thinking and beliefs. ~ Born, P. (2008), Community conversations
Shared learning happens when there are opportunities to come together in dialogue. A shift in what we know about learning theory supports the creation of spaces for conversation and learning to spark individual and collective actions. Depending on the group and purpose of the conversation, there are many formats for engaging in appreciative conversations. Notice the optimism, assets, resources, and possibilities generated from a community exploring literacy development through conversation (click to enlarge image below):
Cafe’s The First 2000 Days Power of Conversation article touches on some key considerations for hosting a conversation cafe and offers a number of recommended resources.
Cafe’s Planning and Hosting Community Conversations is a tool for organizing and executing a community conversation and includes a number of recommended resources.
Café recommends the following resources for engaging in these positively focused conversations that generate excitement, and can drive us to action! Conversation-Capacity-and-Focusing-on-Strengths (pdf) – Café’s Recommended Reading and resources.