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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #204

The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #204
By Tom Barrett • Issue #204 • View online
The through-line for this week’s issue is simple, three-part tools for reflection and development.
The Greek philosopher’s believed the number three was a symbol of harmony, wisdom and understanding. At the moment, they all would be welcome. (including the philosophers)
With three practical tools on offer, hopefully, this week’s issue propels you in the direction of one of those.

Omne trium perfectum (no that's not a Harry Potter spell)
Omne trium perfectum (no that's not a Harry Potter spell)
What, So What, Now What?
Three simple questions that pack a punch when explored together. Use this method when reflecting on a shared experience.
The precise split between what is observed and why it might be meaningful is powerful. It helps participants not get lost in the swamp of interpretation, too soon at least!
The outline of the steps below is from Liberating Structures.
  • If needed, describe the sequence of steps and show the Ladder of Inference (see below). If the group is 10–12 people or smaller, conduct the debrief with the whole group. Otherwise, break the group into small groups.
  • First stage: WHAT? Individuals work 1 min. alone on “What happened? What did you notice, what facts or observations stood out?” then 2–7 min. in small group. 3–8 min. total.
  • Salient facts from small groups are shared with the whole group and collected. 2–3 min.
  • Second stage: SO WHAT? People work 1 min alone on “Why is that important? What patterns or conclusions are emerging? What hypotheses can I/we make?” then 2–7 min. in small group. 3–8 min. total.
  • Salient patterns, hypotheses, and conclusions from small groups are shared with the whole group and collected. 2–5 min.
  • Third stage: NOW WHAT? Participants work 1 min. alone on “Now what? What actions make sense?” then 2–7 min. in small group. 3–8 min. total.
  • Actions are shared with the whole group, discussed, and collected. Additional insights are invited. 2–10 min.
Start with low-inference descriptors
Start with low-inference descriptors
Here, There & Everywhere
This one is from the authors of Gamestorming. It has similarities to the low-inference starting point of W³ shared above.
HTE resonates with me because of the balanced flow of observing, connection to self, and a rule’s abstraction. In its way, also climbing up the ladder of abstraction.
The outline below is from the Gamestorming newsletter, which I highly recommend.
Each time you read a book, listen to your favorite podcast or hear a smart person say something:
1. Write it down (Here)
Something that caught your attention, piqued your curiosity or, at the very least, you noticed
2. Detail how you will apply this thing in your life (There)
How might you implement it at work or in your personal life? Imagine your future self doing it and the outcome it generates
3. Write down the underlying principle or insight that makes this bit of knowledge so effective and universal (Everywhere)
This is its underlying principle absent context.
Start, Stop, Continue
I am sure you will be familiar with this final trio of reflections. Instead of analysis in response to a shared observation, SSC is all about the actions you will take.
In its simplest form, the protocol explores the three actions of its namesake. When you review your project’s development, or even your teaching practice, ask these three simple questions.
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I start doing?
A useful hack from Sarah Beldo, Head of Content and Communications at Miro, is to switch the order a little:
I’ve found that people find it easier to think about what already exists – both the good (“continue”) and the bad (“stop”), before venturing into uncharted territory (“start”).
Here are some further provocations to help you make the most of this trifecta.
  • What practices do you need to START doing?
  • Outline some of the new ideas that you want to start?
  • What are the habits you want to start?
  • What harmful practices do you need to STOP?
  • What are the low-impact processes which need to stop?
  • What do you need to stop investing in?
  • What established practices do you need to CONTINUE doing?
  • Which aspects of your work need to be maintained?
  • What needs continued investment to maintain the impact you want to see?
A while ago, I extended the SSC protocol with a few additional provocations, such as Pause, Rewind and Fast Forward.
You can read about that extended version in a new blog post I just published.
If you would like a copy of the PDF resource I have created - mentioned in the blog post - you can download it here.
How to Review Progress and Set Actions with the “Start, Stop, Continue” Improvement Framework
Thanks for spending some time with me this week. Enjoy the weekend when it arrives. Drop me a note if I can help with anything.
In dialogue, we trust
~ Tom
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Tom Barrett

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