Training/Education

 

Education and training are central to the work of IISD. They are continuously on our minds and pervade all of our work. They are both invisible and visible—subtle and formal.
 
In the broadest sense of the word education, Sustained Dialogue provides a space in which participants learn. They learn more about themselves, about others, and about their relationships. They learn that their interests cannot be pursued successfully without the collaboration of others—even their enemies. Stopping violence requires action by all sides. They learn that cooperation can generate power. They learn skills—building a cumulative agenda, creating common bodies of knowledge, talking analytically instead of debating and arguing. They learn to work together in the common or public interest while preserving their identities. All of this happens as experience within the dialogue unfolds under the guidance of sensitive moderators who “teach” only rarely. 
 
But IISD also engages rigorously in visible forms of training and teaching.
 
We hold workshops in communities and on campuses to provide space in which potential dialogue organizers and participants can probe their problems and learn enough about SD to determine whether it is an instrument that would help them. We create spaces for “dialogue about dialogue.”
 
When citizens decide that SD is the change instrument they want to use, IISD or its associates hold workshops for training moderators. This training—in the spirit of the dialogue process—is highly interactive. We have learned that SD cannot be transferred to others as a technique in which specified steps are carefully followed. Moderators learn by moderating, so the training is both interactive and iterative—we figuratively walk alongside moderators as their experience deepens. We present the whole picture at the outset but then share in depth what they need to get started and then come together periodically to build on their experience to prepare them for the later stages of SD.
 
To support this learning, a range of manuals [see them here] has been created—each to meet a particular need and a particular kind of group.
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