I just found the site Dropout Nation (the site for the link above) as I looked for images. I feel the article has a lot of important things to say. I guess the only thing I would bring up to question is the word Conflict; I would prefer to substitute Dialogue, just about every time. The author of the piece, having moderated debates in and out of the educational arena, says:
Strong, vigorous, fractious debate — also known in most circles as conflict — is absolutely healthy and important. It is critical to maintaining the intellectual vitality of a movement, and important in shedding light on the need to transform education for our children.
If you read the comments of my last post, Education Reform: Global Education Challenge, you will get my view point: healthy dialogue and debate is extremely important for any change to really happen. Not just in schools but really with adults as well. The kids opinions are not always as fixed and there is a chance to grow listeners and thinkers. I have seen this in action in many of my drama classes, and especially in my Process Drama work (for more on that, please check the left side scroll for Past Posts).
This moves away from the rote teach-to-the-test method that we are seeing in America. Open dialogue, in a safe environment to share (which, with students AND adults, is an ongoing battle and constantly needs to be reinforced) is a huge learning tool: critical thinking; presentational skills; organizing thoughts; collaborative work (small and large groups; partnerships); non-violent problem solving; risk taking; imaginative leaps of logic &/or illogic (which is still valid, imo); social engagement; seeing things from a different point of view (POV); conflict resolution; and awareness of creating a safe area to share ideas.
How many adult situations are we faced with daily where the above principles if set in place and applied would benefit greatly from that?
“I’m right. You are wrong.”
Most of the conflicts start and end there. We can’t all be right and the other side can’t be all wrong.*
It’s my belief that while we need to work on open and free dialogue in schools, it is also extremely important to institute this as an ongoing learning goal for adults. There are too many in a power situation (political, managerial, wealth or other social status function) that feel that they have the right to TELL others, but they don’t have to listen themselves. It’s not healthy for any of us.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below.
*POINT: I am not including fascist, war mongering, hateful POVs here. There seems to be only one solution for those, and dialogue and acceptance is not among their answers: exterminate their opposition. So, as the son of a survivor of Auschwitz, and who experienced watching the events of 9/11 as they unfolded, please understand that. I do not, in anyway, condone any violent or hateful act as a means of solving anything.
Post Script: Not much can be discussed after that (the above) happens. Think I’m over exaggerating here? Think of it: someone goes off on you, refuses to listen, shuts you out, and goes ahead and goes about what they were going to do, think the same way, give no other thought or care to another…you’ve been personally nuked and made unimportant, made non-existent.