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Essentials of Dialogue

Briefing20th March 2017

Chapter 1

Students need tools to build societies that welcome diversity and encourage an open-minded and inclusive approach. To support this, teachers need straightforward and simple classroom activities.

"Essentials of Dialogue" is part of the Institute's response to that challenge. It is a resource for use in classrooms to build skills of dialogue and critical thinking in young people, and an indispensable part of the Institute's Generation Global programme.

Each chapter includes both theory and practical activities to help explore, develop, and practise dialogue. The resource is free to use in classrooms all over the world. 

Download the resource:





Chapter 2

"[The Institute] is keen to share the learnings from our education programme which has given thousands of young people around the world the opportunity to take part in activities helping them to overcome prejudice, develop critical thinking, and open their minds to difference. Now these freely available resources make that best practice available to everyone." Tony Blair

"The Essentials of Dialogue is the most effective resource available to classroom teachers for teaching the skills of civil dialogue to young people. At a time of growing sectarian and ideological conflict, educating for respect and understanding across differences must be an urgent priority for every school. The outstanding activities included in this set of resources are innovative, field-tested ways to create in young people the habits of mind and heart needed to fight prejudice and promote mutual understanding among people of all faiths and beliefs." Charles Haynes, Director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute

"We have found that this approach to teaching dialogue can increase students' open-mindedness and their ability to handle complexity. In other words, it can help our young people grow up to be well-rounded adults, protected against falling prey to extreme world-views."

Professor Rupert Wegerif

Exeter University

"There is an urgent need for more resources that enable young people both to gain knowledge and understanding of the diversity of religions and other worldviews and to learn how to discuss differences of beliefs and values with civility, tolerance and respect. In a divided world, this need for civil dialogue is crucial, a point made strongly in the Council of Europe's ongoing work on education about religions and non-religious convictions. However, high quality resources which help both students and teachers to engage in this process are few and far between. Essentials of Dialogue is thus a very welcome publication, covering key issues in both teaching and practising dialogue. Drawing on the practical experience of the [Generation Global] programme, Essentials of Dialogue deals clearly and succinctly with skills of communication in relation to beliefs and values, while introducing important information, ranging from issues relating to the use of the Internet, to the use of videoconferencing. Essentials of Dialogue is highly recommended." Robert Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Religions and Education at the University of Warwick

"In an educational climate where religious literacy is of the essence, this resource provides training for dialogue which avoids the adversarial stance of debate, and encourages active listening. There are fresh snappy ideas for active, enjoyable engagement outside of their normal friendship comfort zones, and inspiring case studies enabling learning on the impact of words rather than swords in the world at large. It equips students around the world for positive engagement in all areas of their lives: present and future family relationships, in the workplace, and equips our young people for taking leadership roles in the future, and making the world a safer place to be. Invaluable." Barbara Usher, Head of RS at Coopers' Company and Coborn School 

"As a parent and school governor I strongly encourage teachers to introduce dialogue training into their curriculums immediately. There is no need to reinvent the wheel because the Essentials of Dialogue is a complete and tested resource used by thousands of teachers and students around the world. I have witnessed violent extremism first-hand and have devoted my life to helping leaders resolve conflict through dialogue and negotiation. The better we train our young people to dialogue today the fewer problems we'll have to solve in 20 years from now. The solution is in the dialogue." Peter Nixon, TEDx speaker and author of Dialogue Gap

"Deliberately teaching students the skills to dialogue will help create a strong constituency that expresses, sees, and reaches out to persons of different cultural practices and faiths. I endorse this free resource for use especially by schools in the Philippines as it can help create a culture of encounter and understanding – seedbeds of voices for peace." Luisito G. Montalbo, Undersecretrary, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Philippines)

"Italian teachers are captured by the idea of incorporating the teaching of dialogue in the curriculum and find the Essentials of Dialogue materials engaging and effective. Teachers appreciate the new opportunities for internalizing knowledge about "the other" and for making learning deeper. In Italy the [Generation Global] experience has mobilised the interest of experts and scholars from a variety of domains, originating very interesting developments in the notion of global communication and its enactment in the school practice." Giovanna Barzanò, Senior Civil Servant, Ministry of Education University and Research, Italy

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