I was reading Mark chapter 4 this morning. There Jesus tells the parable of the sower. You know the one; there is a man sowing seed, some falls on the path, some among the rocky soil, etc. He is telling this parable to the crowd sitting around him.
Then in verse 10, Jesus has a conversation with his twelve disciples. The twelve ask Jesus a question. Jesus answers their question but he first reveals his strategy: I will talk with you about these things but not with those outside (v. 11). He then went on to explain the parable of the sower and to tell them many more parables (v. 33).
What Mark writes is a summary of a long day of conversation with Jesus. Certainly the twelve disciples had more questions and there was more conversation back and forth than is recorded. Jesus “did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”
I will boldly state here that transformation comes through conversation.
Assuming that this is true, then transformational learning should be infused with conversations, honest discussions, questions, explanations, more questions, humans talking together to get to the bottom of things.
We tend to think that our teaching will transform, that my responsibility is to pass on information. We see that Jesus saw discipleship as more than that.
We see from other places in scripture that conversation is a key strategy used by God. What is one of the first interactions we see between man and God? That would be a conversation. God asks Adam a series of questions and Adam answers with explanations.
When Moses finally enters ministry, we see a conversation between him and God.
The New Testament Gospels are filled with conversations.
My encouragement to you is for you to consider building relevant, humble conversations into your training, into your course, into your teaching, or as we are calling it, into your learning response.
- Let your learners ask questions.
- Let your learners provide their answers to the questions.
- Be willing to state, “I don’t know.”
- Provide conversation opportunities in a variety of domains—knowledge, attitudes, action, relationships (know, be, do, relate).
- Ask questions that let the students use their expertise.
Your role in this?
- Build conversations into your curriculum.
- Explore methods that are appropriate for your learners.
- Be a role model of humility. The world says that the teacher has to be the one who knows it all, the expert. Provide yourself opportunities to be purposefully humble. Use conversation to put aside the pride that goes with being the expert. (1 Peter 5:6)
What makes conversations so important? They are an integral part of the relationships through which transformation comes.