Difficult Dialogues: Engaged learning across differences Gary Anderson Intergroup Relations Program

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  • Difficult Dialogues: Engaged learning across differences Gary Anderson Intergroup Relations Program
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  • Objectives Learn about the Intergroup Dialogue model of communication. Distinguish between dialogue, discussion, debate Consider ways to apply dialogue concepts to your work unit.
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  • Key Concepts Normalizing Conflict Understanding rather than agreement Empathy Power/Privelege/Status Social Identity Perspective Taking
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  • What is Intergroup Dialogue? Intergroup dialogue (IGD) is an educational model that brings together students from two or more social identity groups in a co-facilitated environment to learn how to communicate about group membership, inequality, and social justice Composition Structure Content, Process, and Action Goals Collaborative Nature of IGD
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  • Why Intergroup Dialogue? Presence of diversity on campus does NOT equal frequent, positive, or meaningful contact. Intergroup contact can be minimal or negative. Leverages educational value of diversity Opportunity to learn how to engage in difficult conversations across differences. Can enhance individuals knowledge and skills and contribute to positive campus climate.
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  • The Four Stages of Intergroup Dialogue
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  • Stage 1: creating a shared meaning of dialogue Group dynamics, listening/communication skills Group guidelines How dialogue differs from debate. comfort zones and learning edges
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  • Stage 2: understanding identity, social relations Concepts of social identities and multiple identities. In-groups and out-groups. Influence of group membership on experiences and perceptions. Systems of power and privilege.
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  • Stage 3: hot topics Analysis of specific controversial issues. Relation of group differences to power and systems of privilege. Differing group interests and outcomes. Managing and utilizing conflict as a learning opportunity.
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  • Stage 4: Alliances and Empowerment Collaboration Project Intergroup Presentations. Carrying the dialogue experience beyond the classroom: ways to continue personal growth and learning. Interpersonal and institutional change and action. Cycle of liberation. Nature of alliances; what is effective; how to form alliances.
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  • Intergroup Dialogue Theoretical Framework COMMUNICATION PROCESSES (within the group) OUTCOMES Intergroup Understanding awareness of structural inequality social identity engagement Intergroup Relationships intergroup empathy motivation to bridge differences Intergroup Collaboration confidence in taking action frequency in taking action INTERGROUP DIALOGUE PEDAGOGY Active Learning Structured Interactions Facilitative Guidance PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESSES Cognitive Affective (within individuals)
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  • Comparing Debate, Discussion and Dialogue
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  • Paradigm for communicating across difference Debate might is right Discussion the noisier, the smarter Dialogue Connectivity for community Debate is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong. Personal experience is secondary to a forceful opinion. Discussion tends to contribute to the formation of an abstract notion of community. Personal experience and actual content are often seen as separate. Dialogue is collaborative: two or more sides work together toward common understanding. Personal experience is a key avenue for self- awareness and understanding of differences.
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  • Self-orientation Debate might is right Discussion the noisier, the smarter Dialogue Connectivity for community Debate defends assumptions as truth. In debate, one submits ones best thinking and defends it against challenges to show that it is right. Individual contributions often center around center of rightness. In discussion, the impact may often be identified and processed individually and outside of the group setting. Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending judgments and causes introspection on ones own position. Dialogue reveals assumptions and biases for reevaluation.
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  • Other-orientation Debate might is right Discussion the noisier, the smarter Dialogue Connectivity for community In debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and glaring differences. In discussion, one listens only to be able to insert ones own perspective and is often serial monologues. In Dialogue, one listens to the other sides in order to understand, find meaning, and points of connection.
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  • Emotions in the process Debate might is right Discussion the noisier, the smarter Dialogue Connectivity for community Debate involves a countering of the other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or depreciates the other person. In discussion, emotional responses may be present but are seldom named and may be unwelcome. In dialogue, emotions help deepen understanding of personal, group and intergroup relationship issues.
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  • End state Debate might is right Discussion the noisier, the smarter Dialogue Connectivity for community In debate, winning is the goal Discussion assumes, the more perspectives the better. Discussion can be open or close-ended. In dialogue, understanding is the goal. Dialogue remains open-ended.
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  • Thank you! Intergroup Relations Office University of California San Diego
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