From Telling to Teaching - University of Missouri Extension

From Telling to Teaching
A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning
Karen Sherbondy, MEd, RD, LD
Different teaching method
• Learner-centered education
• Hands-on activities
• Participants actively engaged
in learning
• Describe what you know about facilitated
dialogue or learner-centered education
• Describe what you want to learn about using a
dialogue approach in teaching
• What concerns do you have about teaching
this way?
Learner-centered education (LCE)
• Teaching that involves active participation of
the leader and the learner
• Gets all involved and centered on the learning
• Sharing and comparing experiences of the
• Creates a safe environment for learners to
consider changing behaviors
• About the learner
• About what the learner needs to do to remain
engaged and excited
• Structure within the flow of discussion and
exchange of ideas
• About the educator
• Lectures with activities added
• Based on a pre-written script
Laying the foundation
Reinforce learning
Partner interactions
Open questions
Learning style preferences
Activate prior learning
Setting the learning environment
Adult learning principles
• Environment
– Safe
– Respectful
– Work in small groups
• Information
– Personally relevant
– Immediately useful
• Style
– Engaging
– Open-ended questions
– Remember learning styles
Activate prior learning and experience
• Why do we activate prior learning?
– Link new information to what already know
Which describes how you learn best?
____I learn best when I read and take notes.
____I learn best when I am part of a group
and can discuss information.
____I learn best when I am part of a group
and listen to the speaker.
____I learn best when I use a combination of
the above.
Learning style preferences
Do it all
• Incorporate all learning styles into your
• Hear it
• Write it
• Do it
• Say it
Open-ended questions
• Allow for conversation
• Let learner reflect and make personal meaning
of new information
• Involve thinking
• Require active listening by the facilitator
Reinforce the learning
• How can your learners review information in
fun, yet meaningful ways?
• How can you improve the odds that they will
use the information or skill after they leave
Learner-centered approach
• Balance between meeting learner’s need
while providing valuable information
Who’s the expert?
• Educator is the expert in information and the
experiences of others
• Client is the expert in his/her behavior and life
Dialogue approach
• The delivery of new information combined
with opportunities for learners to do
something with it
– Open question and responses
– Conversation
– Learners decide the meaning of new information
and importance to them
• What is to be taught?
• What do participants need to know or know
how to do?
• Decide what to leave in and what to
leave out!
• We should be teaching half
as much in twice the time
• Let go of content!
What will the learners do with the
• Link content to an achievement objective
– Information they need
– What they will do with information
– How it will happen
• How will the session be designed so that the
learners will achieve the objectives?
Learning Tasks
• Anchor
• Add
• Apply
• Away
• Ground the topic in the learners’ lives
• Provide new information
• Have learners do something with the
• Allow learners to move the information into
the future
Comparing teaching approaches –
youth vs. adult
Experiential approach
Dialogue approach
Do……………………………… Anchor
Reflect……………………….. Apply
Apply…………………………. Apply/Away
Strategies to use
Open-ended questions
Pros and cons grid
Tell a story
Scale of 0 to 10
Menus and list of choices
Trade-off analysis
Open-ended questions
• What do open-ended questions sound like?
• Learners have asked you how to get
children to eat more vegetables
• Traditional closed-ended questions
– Do you worry about your child not eating
– Are you interested in getting your child to eat
more vegetables?
Open-ended questions
• Find out if learner recognizes there is a problem
– What might be the benefits of eating the vegetables you are
serving your child?
• Find out if learner has any concerns about the issue
– What do you worry about when your child doesn’t eat
• Find out learner’s level of intention of changing
– What do you want to know about how to get your child to eat
more vegetables?
• Find out learner’s level of confidence in making changes
– We have discussed several ideas to get your child to eat more
vegetables. Which ideas would work for you, and why do you
think they would work better than other ideas presented?
Pros and cons grid
• Helps learners to consider both sides of
changing behavior
• Provides information to facilitator about
obstacles learners face
If I do
Pros and cons
• Any change brings positive and negative
• See both sides and determine if pros outweigh
• See what will make change work and what will
interfere with change
• Always a cost to not changing
– Immediate or delayed
Pros and cons scenario
Learners ask how to get children to eat more vegetables.
Proposed change-be a role model and eat vegetable yourself.
• Pros
– If I change
• My child will see me eat
vegetables and will try
– If I don’t change
• My child may get sick
more often
• Cons
– If I change
• I don’t like vegetables
and will gag in front of
my child
– If I don’t change
• My child won’t learn to
like vegetables
Tell a story
• Creates a safe situation to get responses
• Use open-ended questions to get discussion
• Make questions specific to learners’ needs
Tell a story
• Mrs. Smith serves soda pop with lunch and
dinner. Both she and her children have
cavities, are overweight and don’t drink
enough milk.
Suggested open-ended questions
– What else could she serve as a drink with meals?
– What might happen if she continues not to serve
milk with meals?
Scale of 0 to 10
• Can use to get learners to react to an idea or
suggestion that doesn’t reveal personal
• Not appropriate with all cultures
• Alternate-offer 3 points-the ends and one
middle point
• Always
• Sometimes
• Never
Scale of 0 to 10
• Present a situation or suggest a behavior to the group
• Ask group to think about how they would rate their
response on a scale of 0 (least) to 10 (most)
– Responses provide answers that support change or describe
• Explore why someone may have answered a lower or
higher number
– On a scale of 0 to 10, someone could have answered a
lower/higher number.
– Why do you think she may not give a lower/higher number?
Menus and list of choices
• Provide list of possible suggestions
• Learners look at list and select one or more
choices to consider
• Encourages learners to work as a team
– Here are some ideas about healthy drinks to offer
children. Which one would you choose? How
much would you give?
Trade-off analysis
• Ask questions that allow for dialogue about
what are the trade-offs to change
• Use open-ended questions
– What might happen if _______?
– What other reasons________?
– What will you do if________?
– How will you handle the situation if______?
Let’s practice
The power of the visual
• Why use visuals?
– Help learners by adding graphic organizers
Facilitation skills
• Waiting
• Affirming
• Weaving
Our goal
Invite learners to make meaning and form new
ideas, skills and behaviors to fit into their own
Our role
To teach, not to tell
• Keeping dialogue on track
• Handling misinformation
* Be sure to create an environment of
acceptance and respect
Keeping dialogue on track
• Frequent summarization of the learners’
comments can assure dialogue continues to
• Summarization statements
– Let’s review what has been mentioned so far.
– In summary, we can say that most of you think…
– I think I have heard you agree to the following…
– Many of you have different opinions. Let’s take a
moment to review these.
What else?
• What are some other statements that can be
used to begin a discussion summary?
Be sure to create an environment of
acceptance and respect
Handling misinformationAffirm, add, and move on
• Affirm person that made erroneous comment
– Thank you for bringing that up since lots of people
think that.
• Give concise response
– New research has shown that…
• Move on by reaffirming the learner and
getting back to the discussion
Handling misinformation
Traditionally we used to teach that_______
Now we know more about________
Other research has found________
We can discuss that later because the rest of
the group wants to move on
Let’s reflect…
Discussion questions
• Describe the experience of teaching using the
dialogue approach.
• What goals do you have?
• What concerns do you have?
• What are your questions?
Putting it together
• What other information do you need to allow
you to implement facilitated dialogue?
• What additional information that you would
like to have?
Norris, Joye (2003). From Telling to Teaching: A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning. North
Myrtle Beach, SC: Learning by Dialogue.
Sigman-Grant, M. (2004). Let’s Dance. Facilitated Dialogue Basics; A Self-Study Guide for
Nutrition Educators. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

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