Dialogue and the Advising Relationship

To engage in dialogue is one of the simplest ways we can begin as teachers, scholars and critical thinkers to cross boundaries, the barriers that may or may not be erected by race, gender, class, professional standing, and a host of other differences.

— bell hooks

Central to teaching and learning at Goddard is the practice of dialogue. Based, in part, on the understanding that knowledge(s) are relational, elastic, and part of ongoing processes of change and growth, all students are expected to engage their own knowledge and assumptions respectfully in active dialogue with faculty, peers, staff, and members of the larger community. In his article, “What Progressive Education Means at Goddard,” longtime faculty member and Goddard historian Wilfred Hamlin says that “the activities of learning become truly educational when they are symbiotic, consensual, cooperative, communal, part of responsible membership in culture.” (Hamlin, 1989, p. 3) For this process to be successful, it is essential that students participate fully in the process, taking responsibility for their learning and engagement in each exchange.

The dialogic process is at the heart of the relationship between students, advisors and fellow advisees. While all faculty advisors share this philosophy, individual advisors will have their own approach to dialogue. As students work with different faculty, they can expect the content and the form of the advising relationship to shift, as each pairing enables alternative perspectives and backgrounds in the co-learning process.

It is important for students to keep in mind that in addition to every individual advising relationship, faculty advisors work closely with other advisees and have a variety of academic, professional, and creative responsibilities. Outside of regular packet dialogue, faculty members are available to answer periodic questions and clarify responses via email and, at their discretion, other means. All members of the community are asked to remain aware of reasonable limits whenever extending work beyond the packet framework.

References:

Hamlin, Wilfred. “What Progressive Education Means at Goddard.” PDF file. 1989.

hooks, b., (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.