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A journey towards transformative education

In a school system in which most of knowledge exchange is a one way street, and learning is confined to the classroom, with little innovation to take place, we were set on taking our Value Creators to make an important change within this system. With all different experiences within the educational system, as well has having studied it in different ways, the different views of our team members came together to form a drive to make change.

Inspired by a more dynamic way of learning, in which the teacher and student have a certain synergy, where critical thinking forms the foundation of learning, and where the school walls disappear and society becomes a playground for learning, like we can find in Living Labs, we dove deeper into transformative education and how to introduce it more widely in the educational system.

Interacting with the actors and organizations playing a role in the system such as different bigger organizations, like CITO, as well as schools and universities, like Hogeschool Rotterdam and Windesheim, and several Living Labs, we soon found that making changes within the educational system is very challenging. With bureaucracy, regulations, and criteria, introducing more transformative forms of education proves to be challenging. For the purpose of our project, we decided to take a different approach.

We came into contact with the fire Keepers Academy and got inspired by their view on life-long learning through open dialogue. We looked deeper into these forms of dialogue and talked to several experts on polarization, generative dialogue, and Socratic dialogue. We found ourselves to be inspired by learning through bringing different people together, bridging those differences, engaging in open dialogue, and subjecting ourselves to opposing views of others while having a critical mindset. We looked deeper into what we can learn from dialogue and found the perfect format for connecting and generating new ideas: generative dialogue.

We started to ask ourselves the question: How can we bring different people from all over society together to, through engaging in open dialogue, can develop their views, their critical thinking abilities, and learn and connect with each other?

Together with our network we came to an idea to create a dialogue center: a physical space in which we bring people together to engage openly with each other using generative dialogue, to explore their differing views and experiences relating to a topic. We conducted research into how to best create and organize this and held a pilot to get insights form participants in their experience and learn what we could still improve. All these insights have been formed together into a toolkit, which ultimately, we want to publish so schools, universities, corporate organizations, social organizations, or anyone interested in hosting a dialogue center, can use our guide to organize a dialogue center around their own learning objective. This way we can spread transformative education beyond school walls, and support others wanting to transform their own learning as well.

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