OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Dialogic Listening

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Dialogic listening is an alternative to active listening which was developed by John Stewart and Milt Thomas. Dialogic listening has four distinctive characteristics.   First, it emphasizes conversation as a shared activity.  It encourages people to attend to their own views--and the other person's views--at the same time, while active listening focuses primarily on the other person's views alone.  Second, it takes an open-ended--the authors even say "playful"--attitude toward conversation.   It demands modesty, humility, trust, and recognition of the opponent as a choice-maker.  Third, the parties focus on what is happening between them, not what is going on in the mind of one or the other person.  And fourth, dialogic listening focuses on the present, rather than on the future or on the past.  In this way, parties can work together to frame the nature of their problem, can come to a new understanding about each other, their relationships, and the options before them.   While the same outcomes can occur by using active listening, dialogic listening is more of a joint process, and thus is more likely, the authors argue, to yield a shared understanding of the problem, and potentially a shared solution.


Links to more information about dialogic listening:

John Stewart and Milt Thomas--Dialogic Listening:   Sculpting Mutual Meaning
This is a longer description of dialogic listening which compares it to active listening and shows its advantages and disadvantages.
Roger Fischer, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Schneider -- Explore Partisan Perceptions
This short story illustrates how dialogic listening (or at least active listening) can help avoid serious misunderstandings.

Links to Related Approaches

Active Listening


Links to Related Problems

Failure to Understand an Opponent's Perspective

Cultural Barriers to Effective Communication

Misinterpretation of Communication

Misinterpreted Motives

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu