This week we held two community conversations about this year’s Essential Question—“How Can We Make Tomorrow Better Than Today?” Three advisories, one from each division, came together to participate in the community conversation, which had five main purposes:
Engage in community conversation and make these inter-divisional conversations part of our regular operation;
Model democratic practices and enact the 10th Common Principle of Essential Schools;
Increase student voice, ownership, and leadership;
Increase interaction among divisions;
Use this year’s Essential Question to think about the upcoming year both individually and as a school.
During summer planning activities in August, the faculty also revisited and rehearsed best practices for facilitating advisory-based conversations about current events that might be on students’ minds on any given day, any given morning. Such conversations give teachers and students opportunities to build and exercise specific skills: listening; humility; respect; trust; voice. We identified go-to resources for news reports and shared a simple yet flexible protocol for structuring conversations that will help us learn together through dialogue.
Differences shape who we are and what we know. Life, history, society, and power cannot be understood from a single perspective; we need multiple viewpoints to truly see the world. Because of this, inclusive classrooms must function as learning communities built on shared inquiry and dialogue. Dialogue is more than conversation. It is also different than debate, in which someone wins and someone loses. Dialogue requires openness to new ideas and collective learning… (from Teaching Tolerance’s Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education).
Helping all members of our community learn together and from each other through conversation and dialogue is one way to Make Tomorrow Better Than Today!