Consensus communication, Talking Sticks, silent meetings, and Hawaiian talk-story

I posted this video on my blog sometime last year, but think it might tie in to our recent reflections and conversations about how to go about actualizing the potential of classroom discussions. In the comments of the post, TALONS parent, Tasha, introduces a few ideas that may prove valuable in putting together next week’s Discussion series.

How might this translate to the classroom? Most Canadian students have run across the “talking stick” at some point, in which only the person with the stick (or other object) in hand may speak and where that object must be passed about for discussion to continue. Another approach which can help highlight quiet voices is to follow small group discussion with a larger discussion in which speakers can only represent someone else’s idea, rather than their own (thus putting the big talkers into the position of highlighting the opinions of their less assertive brethren).

Quaker silent meetings and Hawaiian talk-story are quite different approaches. Quaker silent meetings require silence both before and after speech, with the intent that the silence will facilitate thoughtful reflection and will prevent head-on debate or conflict. Talk story, on the other hand, is predicated on the idea of a shared, collaborative narrative, making use of overlapping, participatory speaking. 

It might be interesting to see what result the diverse approaches yield on who participates and how the discussion proceeds and what kind of ideas rise to the fore. Do different people participate? Do different ideas emerge?

One Comment:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *