Yesterday morning, for 75 minutes, the entire school engaged in what we have come to call ‘Dialogue Day’.
Our basic premise is that ‘dialogue’ – the skill/habit of responding, rather than reacting, when one’s core beliefs are challenged – is a learned skill, something at which we can all get better. We think of this as an essential skill, one that can help strengthen our democracy. Graduating 18 year olds who are able to engage in genuine dialogue about the complex challenges faced by our nation and planet and avoid shutting themselves off from other perspectives is the larger goal.
The setting for this work was provided by the students and faculty themselves. Their own interests and life stories provided the basis for the menu of options from which every student could select.
Most of the sessions were student-led. The entire faculty and staff fanned out across all of the sessions to provide general support and facilitation in the small-group discussions sections that followed an initial presentation.
I visited almost all of the sessions and observed students engaged respectfully in questions that dominate the headlines and leave most adults scratching their heads.
School-life, like life generally, ebbs and flows. Some days are better than other.
But today was one of those days where the considerable strengths of the ARHS students and faculty were on clear display. I wish livestreaming was an option. I’m sure you would’ve been as proud as I am to be connected with this remarkable group of people.