The Importance of Conversation


"A 16-year-old boy who relies on texting for almost everything says almost wistfully, “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.”

"In conversation we tend to one another. (The word itself is kinetic; it’s derived from words that mean to move, together.) We can attend to tone and nuance. In conversation, we are called upon to see things from another’s point of view."

Quotes from the NY Times: The Flight from Conversation

Realizing it's a problem...

My first step is realizing that this movement away from in-person conversation is having a negative impact on my own life. Even the most captivating video or Google Hangout leaves something to be desired. At present, there is no digital equivalent to the physical experience (and I'd like to keep it that way). 

To combat this, I'm constantly looking to set up dinner and coffee dates with friends where I am forced to have face-to-face conversations. In my experience, the conversations are far more rewarding and frequently lead to more personal and professional opportunities than their digital counterparts.

Then why does technology play such a huge role in your classroom? 

Yes, I spend a lot of time teaching my students to use the exact tools that I believe need moderation.  These same platforms that are undermining quality of life in so many ways are also incredibly powerful tools for collaboration and creation. My students’ ability to leverage those tools as they move through the education system and on into the workforce will play a huge role in their future success. As teachers we need to find a balance. We have the difficult task of teaching them the power of the digital tools as well as communicating the value of the in-person conversation.