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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #187

Hi there, welcome to this week's newsletter, how are you? Lockdown continues here in Melbourne, Austr
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #187
By Tom Barrett • Issue #187 • View online
Hi there, welcome to this week’s newsletter, how are you? Lockdown continues here in Melbourne, Australia. It has been a tough fortnight, but I have welcomed the opportunity to connect with schools and teachers this week.
Stay in touch and drop me a reply to let me know what you enjoy about the weekly newsletters and where you are from. I always enjoy trading stories.
This week: Empathy 2, Fear 1

Moments of Empathy
Design Thinking has a phase called empathy. But this is not something we switch on and off. It is certainly not something that is just a tick-a-box. A deeper connection with people at the heart of a problem, will likely yield a stronger commitment to figuring things out.
During a Design Thinking online workshop this week I encouraged teachers to share a story. A story of a time when they felt out of place and challenged by a language or cultural barrier. These memories helped us to connect on a deeper level, with the experiences of students at the heart of their inquiry.
It shifted the dialogue and our motivation to advocate.
We made meaning by connecting with our own experiences, memories and stories. This put us in a position to connect in a more meaningful way and understand more.
It was a privilege to be part of that moment, so pure and clear, and to help a little in getting there. It is rare to share such a discrete moment of empathy and it was a real highlight this week.
Empathy: An Aggregate of Personal Truths
Hold the Space
I stumbled on this quote from Brené Brown a couple of weeks ago. Not sure why it had passed me by over the years, but my practice is better for this powerful articulation of what empathy is.
Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’
How might you apply the ideas contained in the quote in your own practice? What will you do to withhold judgment or simply listen?
I had the chance to put it into practice straight away, I wondered if I was overthinking how we “do it”.
Tom Barrett
Some great inspiration for my #designthinking sessions today, not to overthink or over process, this empathy phase or to assume it starts and stops.
What are you afraid of?
Part of my recent partnership with Adelaide Botanic High School has been to design and facilitate a leadership course on the Conditions for Innovation.
One of the blocks to creativity (and so innovation) we have been exploring is fear. A fear of making mistakes and taking a risk. It is one of the most common emotional blocks to our creativity.
Maria Popova describes this clearly in the post below, when we cling so vigorously to our comfort zones, our plans, our knowns. She goes on to highlight the thinking of the author Dani Shapiro:
All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt — spectacularly, brazenly — into the unknown.
This is such a beautiful description. It makes me smile, as it captures the challenge of doing, crafting and shipping creative work.
What is stopping you? What are you afraid of? What is the worst that could happen?
The Perils of Plans: Why Creativity Requires Leaping into the Unknown – Brain Pickings
In other news, I am excited to share we have pre-enrolled our first students in our upcoming courses! If you are interested to find out more about our online courses take a look at the Dialogic Learning Courses site.
By the way we are in September. Where did that come from!
Get in touch and let me know what resonates, from this week’s newsletter.
In dialogue we trust.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

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