Module 4: Introduction

Drawing Links Between Dialogue Principles, Practices and Climate Adaptation

This module, like the others, weaves together perspectives and skills that intersect with and support other aspects of the course, including the modules on the psychology of climate change, organizational change, building lasting and collaborative partnerships as well as community engagement.

This module describes ways to put into practice the core teaching of the course that invite us to:

  • Take a whole systems/holistic view of a situation;
  • Emphasize relationship and deep listening as a foundation for the work;
  • Engage in ongoing self-reflective practice; and
  • Recognize and consciously work with questions of power, privilege, justice and equity.

This week, we are focusing on some of the ways these teachings show up in group dynamics and process. We explore specific principles of and tools for working skilfully with groups, recognizing that the outcomes of these meetings or conversations ripple out and influence the wider objectives of engagement within both institutions and communities.

While it is not the intention to teach specific facilitation skills, the readings and lecture notes provide an overview of some core concepts and methods that underpin good facilitation and, therefore, good dialogue.

Even though the practice of meetings are commonplace, there are many ways in which the dominant methods and assumptions of these gatherings do not access the potential of the group to do their best work together and to strengthen relationships in the process. This week we pay closer attention to the qualities of these processes so that they can enable us as individuals, coalitions, and organizations to respond skilfully to the profoundly complex challenge of climate change.

Some of the practices outlined in this module might differ from the familiar ways that meetings are structured, what counts as ‘progress’ and even what ‘success’ looks like. It is common for meetings to emphasize knowing the right answer, advocating for a perspective and moving quickly towards action and clearly visible outcomes. While none of these are inherently bad or wrong, they can de-emphasize the critical role of relationship building and can miss the insights and wisdom that come from ways of gathering and talking together that are rooted in principles of dialogue.


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Strategic Dialogue and Engagement for Climate Adaptation Copyright © by Simon Fraser University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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