Statement of Philosophy


Knowing – the illusion of understanding or the security of a method – reduces the possibility of seeing and worsens our deafness for the unexpected, for the unsaid and the not yet said. If we always hear and listen to in the same way, we cannot see or hear the different and the unique.

— Anderson & Goolishian, 1988

Oracy has been well-researched in recent years, and the implications of this area are becoming apparent for schools around the country. International expert Harlene Anderson, Ph.D., introduced Collaborative-Dialogic Practices (CDP) to encourage relationships and conversations that create generative space and promote meaningful changes in students, even in the most challenging situations. CDP emerged from systemic family therapy as a new proposal to “talk with” a person. It looks at the person as an expert in their life, always bringing resources and ideas on their own. Dr. Anderson recognizes the significance of ‘how’ we talk with each other and how a “teacher-student” relationship is built rather than the amount and frequency with which they communicate.

A collaborative dialogic approach aims to spotlight interconnected issues such as:

    1. the juxtaposition of democracy, social justice, and human rights;
    2. the importance of people’s voices locally and globally; and
    3. the fundamental need for collaboration.

The teacher facilitates interpersonal learning for students in a conversation style. CDP proposes a form of generative dialogue where the student and the teacher co-construct new knowledge. The student shares their ideas, and the teacher initiates a process of exploring the situation, often leading to the transformation of meanings. Learning and change in perspectives may occur, not because the teacher imposes it but because collaborative dialogue produces this effect.

When talking differently about a topic, the content takes on a different meaning. Problems in dialogue and learning are not solved but dissolve because they acquire a new meaning. The therapeutic relationship transforms the student’s point of view and the teacher’s, who learns something new from each conversation as they assume the role of a companion with students.

The teacher is an active listener who listens to and respects students’ ideas while encouraging an open and lively debate. Students are advised to communicate their questions in a friendly and respectful manner to learn from one another. Using a conversational communication style encourages students to question the teacher and other classmates as they work through their shared experiences. It also helps them develop self-awareness by reflecting upon what they say and how it affects others. The benefits of CDP include:

    • Developing social skills such as empathy, respect, tolerance, cooperation, and collaboration.
    • Improving language skills, including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and listening comprehension.
    • Increasing academic achievement.
    • Enhancing creativity, imagination, and innovation; Deeper classroom thinking and engagement.
    • Promoting positive attitudes towards schoolwork and teachers.