First Advisor

Mary Kinnick

Term of Graduation

Spring 2006

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Educational Leadership




Conflict management, Dialogues, Multicultural education, Culture conflict, Culture shock



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, viii, 289 pages)


Dialogue is a process that can help change the culture of our organizations and communities to better respond to interpersonal and intergroup conflict. Dialogue brings people together, in a safe environment, to reflect on and transform their assumptions that are often the root cause of conflict. Deepening the understanding of interethnic dialogue and conflict resolution can have a significant effect, not only in our organizations and local communities, but in helping create a strong and vibrant democracy.

Many organizations across the United States are currently involved in organizing interethnic dialogues. Each organization has developed a unique approach to the design and practice of these dialogues. From these various organizations, five dialogue models were selected for study. These diverse models came from the areas of civic engagement, conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue, performance and visual art, and the federal courts.

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how these organizations have designed their dialogue processes. This was done through interviews and document reviews and was guided by the following questions: What are the specific design elements of community, interethnic dialogue models in the United States? What is the rationale behind these design elements? What are the similarities and differences in design across the various models? And, Is transformational learning theory currently being incorporated in the design of interethnic dialogues? If so, how?

The study identified 10 basic design components and confirmed that all five models followed a similar four stage process. Several differences including the length of dialogue sessions, the use of activities and materials, and the maximum number of participants were also found across the five models. The study also determined that transformative learning theory was unintentionally incorporated into the design of the models.

The study recommends adding a new fifth stage of dialogue---evaluation. It also suggests including a new phase, identifying assumptions, as part of the transformative learning process. Lastly, the 10 components of dialogue design, the above recommendations, and insights from transformative learning theory have been developed into a framework and tool to help inform current and future dialogue design.


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