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Managing the Action/Reflection Polarity Through Dialogue: A Path to Transformative Learning. NALL Working Paper.

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At the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Ontario, a course entitled Developing and Leading High Performing Teams: Theory and Practice is experimenting with a design that surfaces the action/reflection paradox for the purpose of learning how to manage this polarity. Whether the product is defined as services or goods, the general tendency is to view time spent on specific task completion as the only legitimate form of work. In the workplace, an opportunity for reflection on a lived experience increases productive capacity and individual knowledge and skill and results in personal and, sometimes, organizational learning that is transformative. The paradoxical outcome for an organization is a case of slowing down in order to speed up. The course teaches the skills required to engage in reflection during 7 full-day sessions over 13 weeks. In the mornings, theory is introduced experientially and covers the following: phases of team development; team goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, communication and conflict management; managing difference; and dealing with intractable problems as polarities. In the afternoons, an almost two-hour meeting of class groups as working teams is followed by a team debrief--a structured reflective opportunity to examine the team's behavior and provide feedback. Stages in learning to engage in quality conversations are lack of awareness; awareness without action; ability to act on awareness, with effort; and ability to hold the polarities and maintain the communication. (Contains 23 references) (YLB)

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Author:Laiken, Marilyn E.
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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