Here is a practical tool for taking the competition out of difficult discussions, such as how we explain the uprising in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death.
The facilitator sets this simple rule:
No one should make a declarative statement. Only questions are written on the board.
If one feels compelled to make a statement, the facilitator helps convert the statement into a question.
As questions accumulate, a kind of gestalt of collective concerns appears.
The most important lessons are:
- That there will always be many more questions than answers
- That the answers are in the group, not just in one individual (leader, teacher, authority)
- That dialogue means hearing all questioning voices (the loud, the soft-spoken, and the silent)
Here are images from a class discussion the morning after an evening of civil disturbance in Baltimore.
Everyone takes out a camera and captures the images on the board.
Looking to achieve some consensus, we then ask for interpretations of what all the questions taken together might mean.