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🗣 The Dialogic Learning Weekly #208

The Dialogic Learning Weekly
🗣 The Dialogic Learning Weekly #208
By Tom Barrett • Issue #208 • View online
❤️ 💡 👀 = this newsletter in a trio of emojis. Welcome to the latest issue.
Today we explore the need for perspective-shifting in problem-solving and how we build strong habits; the spaces that mediate innovation; ponderings on the plausibility of empathy in design thinking.

We Have Done Empathy
My current read is Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. I have been pondering on the way she frames empathy and the use of Design Thinking in schools.
Design thinking has empathy as an opening phase of problem-solving.
I wonder how Brené Brown reacts to the prevalence of the term in design thinking for education and the authenticity of the endeavour?
She explains that
Empathy is not connecting to an experience, it is connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.
I think my reflections are on the challenge of developing the associated skills of empathy - and whether we diminish the effort, nuance and skill, in some way, by just “doing empathy in design thinking”.
We need young people to engage with connection and attempt to understand others.
But I wonder how much design thinking is predicated on the emotional capital, experience, and intelligence to connect with someone else’s underpinning emotions.
Do you have the space to innovate?
Last Saturday evening, I spoke to the Apple Distinguished Educator community. My talk focused on the ideal conditions for innovation to flourish, a subject I have long been studying.
Here’s a little sketchnote that Eoin Hughes created and shared that summarises some of the session.
Eoin Hughes
A huge thank you to @tombarrett for a fantastic and thought provoking session this morning about the Space to Innovate. 🤩
And, as always, thanks to @peterford for facilitating and providing that space! 😊
#AppleEDUchat #ADE2021 #sketchnote
In this abridged version, for brevity, I include just a provocation for each space.
PHYSICAL - How does your physical environment encourage curiosity and creativity?
COGNITIVE - What are you saying no to, so you can say yes to this?
TEMPORAL - How are long blocks of time protected to allow you to immerse into deeper work?
EMOTIONAL - What do you care about?
AGENTIC - How much permission, choice, and scope do you have?
Which has the biggest impact on your efforts to innovate?
Dig deeper into my blog post below, which outlines each of these ‘spaces’, why they mediate innovation, and some different Protocols and Practices.
The Spaces You Need to Innovate
Avoid the 'Too Hard' Basket
David Badre shares some ideas about working on complex and challenging projects, an excellent link to the previous section on innovation.
David Badre is professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and author of On Task: How Our Brain Gets Things Done.
I have edited some of the authors’ critical points about practising problem-solving habits and added some keyword labels in bold.
In general, we can get better at structuring hard problems with experience. This is one reason that practice makes us more efficient and successful at hard tasks and that experts outperform novices. Finding work habits that encourage this process helps us to stay focused.
  • Stay with it. Finding the right structure often takes time. [Persist, Stamina, Effort]
  • Be open to reconceptualising problem structure. [Disposition, Curiosity, Perspective]
  • Take breaks. It’s not helpful to insist on trying to get everything done at once if it just isn’t working. [Pace, Time, Incubate]
  • Interact with others. Just like taking a break, interacting with others can help us conceptualise a problem in new ways. [Collaborate, Share, Connect]
I find the idea of being open to reconceptualise problem structures one that resonates with my current facilitation. I am paying attention to moments when I shift perspective. This is often during group design and development sessions.
For example, on Wednesday, during a curriculum design workshop, I asked a group of Year 3 teachers:
If some of your students were here with us, what might they share about the ideas we have developed so far?
This is a deliberate facilitation move to change the group perspective.
The problem structure was shifted and seen from a different vantage point, which propelled us in an alternative direction—a robust method for complex learning design.
Tips from neuroscience to keep you focused on hard tasks
What resonates this week? What is a key takeaway from today’s newsletter?
In dialogue, we trust
~ Tom
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

Ideas and inspiration about Leadership, Learning and Innovation. Every Friday.

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