What is this Dialogue & Deliberation Stuff?

In our community engagement work, we use dialogue or what I like to call “meaningful conversations” to build trust & engage people in the issues. I’ve been keeping a good distance from the dialogue & deliberation crowd, not because I don’t like it, but because it’s been, from my experience, very polarizing or clique-ish. I guess one of the reasons I haven’t connected with it is because of the language they use (deliberation, communities of practice, whiteness, intellectual freedom, etc.) and I don’t know how it would connect with regular community people. Maybe it’s a cultural thing? I don’t know.

So I decided to dive into this world. I signed up to be a moderator for the E3 Alliance’s Blueprint for Education Change. The training is being facilitated by my friend and colleague, Taylor Willingham from Texas Forums. I’m pretty excited about it (oh did I just turn that corner?). We’re going to be in 6 communities (Austin, Bastrop, Hutto, Leander, Manor, and Pflugerville) facilitating structured “meaningful conversation” sessions aka deliberative dialogue with almost 600 people in Central Texas. We’re going to have conversations about what “we” can do to prepare students of today for the jobs of tomorrow with the focus on 3 core approaches – A Firm Foundation, Academic Achievement & The Central Texas Community.

Check out the Blueprint for Educational Change.

I’ll have to credit Taylor (D&D guru) for winning me over. She’s made the process easy and something I can relate to & something anyone can be a part of. We’ll see how the conversations go!


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