Sacred Heart Academy students Elizabeth Miller ’21 and Grace Farrell ’20 and upper school teachers Kelly Weber and Kerri Schuster attended a Network dialogue training at Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois. Nearly 100 participants from all over the Network of Sacred Heart Schools attended the workshop, which was led by representatives from Generation Global, a branch of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
The program was intensive training in the five key dialogue skills: introspection, listening, asking authentic questions, critical thinking and reflection. Participants learned that meaningful dialogue begins with awareness of how one’s own opinions have been formed and the potential for bias. Students and adults worked in a variety of groups, large and small, to engage in activities designed to help guide participants toward successful dialogue. Attendees also considered what is and is not offensive language as well as how to encourage and facilitate difficult discussions. Much of the workshop was experiential and allowed students and adults from all over the country to get to know each other through group work.
The SHA attendees look forward to bringing their new and improved dialogue skills back to SHA Bryn Mawr's Courageous Conversations group to help others more effectively engage in meaningful discussions on challenging topics. At the end of its second year, Courageous Conversations is an Upper School event that provides students with dialogue skills and opportunities to have meaningful conversations on difficult topics.