Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Focused Conversation - Listening, Comprehension and Discussion Strategy

Threatened Pet Fish of the Emperors

Using the same article on koi that has been the basis for my introducing a variety of instructional strategies, I again used it for a Focused Conversation.

The Focused Conversation was developed by an international NGO called ICA (Institute of Cultural Affairs).  Through a series of structured questions asked by a facilitator, people process a shared experience.  The shared experience could be, for example,  a movie, a picture,  a written text, or something else.

The Focused Conversation allows people to process information, similar to Blooms Taxonomy - from factual information to high order analysis thinking.

First I read the one page story to the teachers. Next I facilited the Focused Conversation.  Here is the four part  structure and the questions I asked:

Objective (facts)
1.  What countries were named?
2.  What types of fish other than koi were mentioned?
3.  What words or phrases struck you?
4.  What scenes stood out for you?

Reflective (personal reactions)
1.  Where were you surprised?
2.  Where were you concerned?
3.  When did you want more information?

Interpretive (significance and implications)
1.  What was this article about?
2.  What can we learn from this article?

Decisional (resolution or action)
1.  If you could retitle this article, what new title would you give it?

  After having modeled the Focused Conversation, I wrote the four major Focused Conversation points on the white board and briefly explained them to the teachers.

Using the Focused Conversation has become part of my daily workshop routine.  It is the method I use at the end of the workshop, for the teachers to process what has been presented.  It works great!

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