Welcome to Learning Conversations

Welcome to learning conversations. My passion is creating learning in communities. All communities, from small to large. I do this through conversation. Conversation is not discussion, debate, or even dialogue, even though it is closest to dialogue. I use the word conversation deliberately. So I would like to set the stage for this blog and hopefully not return to the dry etymology of the word conversation.

Etymology (where did these words come from or what is the source of their meaning):

discussion – c.1340, from O.Fr. discussion, from L.L. discussionem “examination, discussion,” in classical L., “a shaking,” from discussus, pp. of discutere “strike asunder, break up,” from dis- “apart” + quatere “to shake.” Meaning of “talk over, debate” first recorded 1448. Sense evolution appears to have been from “smash apart” to “scatter, disperse,” then in post-classical times via the mental process involved to “investigate, examine,” then to “debate.”

debate – 14c., from Fr. debattre, orig. “to fight,” from de- “down, completely” + batre “to beat.”
dialogue – 12c., from O.Fr. dialoge, from L. dialogus, from Gk. dialogos, related to dialogesthai “converse,” from dia- “across” + legein “speak.” Mistaken belief that it can only mean “conversation between two persons” is from confusion of dia- and di-.

conversation – 1340, from O.Fr. conversation, from L. conversationem (nom. conversatio) “act of living with,” prp. of conversari “to live with, keep company with,” lit. “turn about with,” from L. com- intens. prefix + vertare, freq. of vertere (see convert). Specific sense of “talk” is 1580. Used as a synonym for “sexual intercourse” from at least 1511, hence criminal conversation, legal term for adultery from late 18c.

converse (adj.) – 1570, from L. conversus “turn around,” pp. of convertere “to turn about” (see convert). Originally mathematical.

Con versare: To Dance Together is a paper that I wrote that captures the foundation of my work in conversation. The one quote that captures this more than anything else is:

Conversation is the natural way we humans think together –Wheatley

Conversation is in essence an experiential feeling based exchange. It is not dry or matter of fact, it is as though you are in an intimate exchange with a friend. When you lose your self while talking with someone else you are in conversation. You are in a dance together. Tools I use include World Cafe, circles, and a myriad of other collaborative and cooperative tools and strategies. All of then drive conversation when they are at their best.

Learing is the outcome of conversation and that is why this blog is a learning conversation blog. I welcome a conversation about this important topic and maybe we all will learn a bit more about how we learn together.

If you would like to explore other links to sites that are learning organization, living systems, organic systems, complex adaptive systems, social systems, and self-organization based, you are welcome to visit my web links and explore. And of course pass on others that I can add to my collection.

So on with the conversation. Welcome to learning conversations.

John