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The “Climate” of Climate Discussion

It would probably surprise few that the tone of climate change discussions has changed considerably over the years. I have been involved as facilitator, participant, or observer in over fifty such discussions over the last fifteen years.  Early on I (and many...

Clues, Cues, and Queues…in Online Discussions

How can we manage the flow, when conversations shift to videoconferencing? "One of the skills you are going to need to develop is to look for discussion participation clues,” Professor Sonja Berenson told her class. “These skills will tell you when someone wants to...

Prompting Deeper Discussions

Herbert Watson was an English professor teaching a course on American poetry when the COVID-19 pandemic closed the campus. Like faculty members across the country, he quickly shifted to remote instruction. Watson was old school and not quite ready to do Zoom...

Being a Discussion Catalyst

The class had broken up into their discussion groups as usual. But what wasn’t usual was the vigor of the discussion from one group. In fact, it was vigorous enough that other groups were wondering what was going on. The instructor decided to take a closer look....

Ask Follow-Up Questions–and Listen

As the saying goes, Ashley wanted to be the “bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.” She just had to be the center of attention. When she was placed in a discussion group, she dominated the discussion. She could change any subject into something...

Disruption and Positive Transformation

It was 1665, and London was virtually shut down due to the Great Plague. Cambridge University sent its students home to study alone. One of those students, Isaac Newton, used his time to pioneer work in what we now call calculus. He also developed his theory of...

Covid-19 & the Inequities that Haunt Our Nation

If you happened to watch the recent film Ford v. Ferrari, you can better appreciate how risky the development of race cars was; it was really dangerous!  You could die.  And, indeed, one of the lead characters depicted in the film (Ken Miles) did perish in a car...