Dialogue is the key ingredient in successful Socratic Seminars, whether the participants are students or adults. Successful professional learning communities are those that practice dialogue as well. The practice of dialogue builds trust, improves communication, and increases student learning. The general qualities of dialogue are:
1. Suspension of judgment;
2. Release of the need for specific outcomes;
3. An inquiry into and examination of underlying assumptions;
5. A slower pace with silence between speakers;
6. Listening deeply to oneself, others, and for collective meaning
Oscar Graybill offers professional development in The Art and Practice of Dialogue.
Transforming School Culture
Whether it be Rick Dufour, Michael Fullan or Dennis Sparks, changing schools starts with the culture. Changing culture happens when we change the quality of conversations between and among educators. Transforming conversations away from confrontational debate to the win-win of genuine dialogue builds schools of trust, respect, and shared understanding. The practice of dialogue creates the trust and shared understanding required to improve instruction and increase student achievement for all students.
Team Learning and Dialogue
“The discipline of team learning involves mastering the practices of dialogue and discussion, the two distinct ways that teams converse. In dialogue, there is free and creative exploration of complex and subtle issues, a deep listening to one another and suspending of one’s own view.”
The Fifth Discipline
“Educators are likely to require considerable training in group processes and continued reinforcement in order to develop skills as collaborators.”
Rick Dufour & Bob Eaker
Professional Learning Communities at Work
Professional Development Offerings
Trainings are customized to meet the individual needs of each client. Trainings are offered in one, two, and three day formats. Customized planning ensures clients gain the important experiences and skills to effectively facilitate dialogue. Each training includes school/district follow-up visits that add personalized coaching and consulting in the skills of dialogue facilitation.
Trainings prepare leaders to engage others in the practice of dialogue. Each training is highly interactive and experiential. Major topics and skills include:
- Role of Dialogue in Learning Organizations
- Team Building
- Differences between Dialogue, Discussion, and Debate
- Intentional Listening
- Socratic Questioning
- Ground Rules
- Norms of Collaboration
- Dialogue Circles
- Text-Based Seminars
- Protocols for Creating Shared Understanding and Building Community
Oscar Graybill has been a practitioner, facilitator, and trainer of dialogue for over two decades. In the classroom, he facilitated dialogue in the form of Socratic Seminars, engaging students in thoughtful conversations. As Director of Socratic Seminars International, Oscar has worked with scores of teachers and administrators in the art and practice of dialogue.
Oscar’s recent successes come from working with superintendents, principals, and school faculties in dialogue facilitation. School leaders and teachers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond have experienced Oscar’s ability to introduce, facilitate, and guide participation in authentic dialogue focused on improving student learning.
Oscar’s expertise in training adults in the practice of dialogue, along with his stellar career as a teacher, coach, and central office administrator, provide him with the knowledge, skills, and experience to train professionals in the art and practice of dialogue so that both instruction and student achievement improve.