Enhancing institutional conversations through Dialogue Sheets
Fiona Campbell, Julia Fotheringham, Elaine Mowat, Colin Gray, Stephen Bruce
Dialogue Sheets are a simple but powerful tool which stimulates effective and democratic conversations by structuring discussion, encouraging contributions and recording outcomes. Dialogue Sheet methodology has been developed for change management purposes from the World Café movement (Holtham, C. and Courtney, N. 2006) and were introduced to staff of the University in a workshop - Placing Student Voices at the Heart of Institutional Dialogue - at the SEDA Spring Conference in 2008 (Flint and Oxley 2008), where they were very positively received. Since then, Professional Development have enthusiastically embraced Dialogue Sheets to facilitate and enable professional conversations with staff for different purposes and in a variety of fora including facilitating inter-sectoral debate and engaging participants with key aspects of our LTA agenda in conferences, seminars and workshops.
Dialogue Sheets have enabled very effective debate on LTA issues and have been positively evaluated where they have been used. Examples of feedback received include: Dialogue sheets were a great idea, they really got people talking and everyone had a say. This was one of the most useful activities for me. Dialogue sheets - good way to structure discussion in a short space of time and keep the discussion on track. Very positive experience; I thought the use of the dialogue sheets was a good initiative which helped focus on salient points; I have taken away 2 embryonic projects for next year from the discussion with colleagues. Really liked the dialogue sheets. Good to hear other opinions and ideas. Liked the use of the tool used.
Dialogue Sheets work well when time has been spent in preparation to ensure the discussions stimuli - quotes, questions etc. - are approproate for the context and the participants. When used as an activity, Dialogue Sheets should be introduced to ensure everyone is familiar with their role. Based on our experience in using Dialogue Sheets we have developed guidelines for their use which can be adapted and a workshop session which we can run with interested staff. Dialogue Sheets have tremendous potential to be used in any group activity with staff or students to facilitate effective discussions, encourage contributions and to log outcomes.
Flint, A and Oxley, A (2008) Placing Student Voices at the Heart of Institutional Dialogue SEDA Spring Conference 2008 Engaging with Student Expectations Holtham, C. and Courtney, N. (2006) About Dialogue Sheets. Quality in Business Education: available from http://www.qube.ac.uk/QuBE/toolbox/diags/dialogsheet/dialsht/
Examples of Dialogue Sheets which have been developed and used by Professional Development are available at: http://www2.napier.ac.uk/ed/dialogue/
19 November 2010