Photo: Students in Dialogue

Connecting First

Dialogic classrooms produce a stronger sense of student belonging, more regular participation in class, more curiosity about content, and better learning outcomes.

These results are founded on the strength of relationships that are grounded in mutual understanding.

Before opening the day’s discussion or beginning a lecture, start class by helping students connect with one another. This routine will help reframe the classroom as a space where students' personal experiences, values, and views are welcome.

Encourage students to share a story from their past, talk about a song they've been listening to, or share an object that's important to them. When students know the context for a view or opinion (including controversial views) they become:

  • More open to diverse or contrasting views
  • More invested in their peers
  • More open about how their experiences shape their values

The classroom becomes a space where difficult, painful, politically charged topics can be discussed openly, honestly, and rigorously.

Want to use dialogue in your classroom? Bring Essential Partners to your campus or attend the EP summer faculty workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.