Conscious Conversations: Building Capacity for Online Facilitation
According to Wang and Torrisi-Steele (2015), most online educators use strategies that are convenient or efficient instead of considering how to engage students and support them in collaborative conversations. Instead, they argue to adopt “a critical theory perspective [that] has the potential to empower educators to re-examine their roles, beliefs and assumptions, and ultimately help to reform teaching practice in online environments to the benefit of both educators and their learners” (p. 18). This use of skillful conversation is needed to deal with the complexities of 21st Century challenges (Kofman, 2006).
It is easy for beginning or experienced educators to adopt a style of teaching without periodic reflection and learning about their own thinking and actions. The purpose of this paper is to support distance learning educators in examining their assumptions and beliefs (Kofman, 2006; Cunliffe, 2004), practicing authentic, evidence-based communications (Wang & Torrisi-Steele, 2015), and mastering their emotions (Goleman, 1998; Reilly, Gallagher-Lepak, & Killion, 2012. Practical strategies are offered to build the capacity for conscious conversations and critical thinking for themselves and their students.
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