We all know, from watching political events unfold as well as from negotiating with our children over school work, bed times, chores, and sibling squabbles, that ‘peace talks’ are a way to resolve conflict. How many of us realize, however, that the activity of conversing in itself teaches us how to be peaceful?
Having conversations is a tremendously important part of education! Learning how to dialogue with others is not simply working together productively, it is also a way to build fellowship, establish stable, healthy relationships, and achieve community goals. It is an important process in which, perhaps, we most consistently fulfill the highest aspects of our humanity as creatures made in the image of God, from whom the peace which passes all understanding flows.
Is not speech the special ability that sets human beings apart from every other creature? It is through speech—in conversation with others, with ourselves as we are conscious of our own thoughts, and with the Lord through prayer—that we learn! Learning is not an accumulation of facts, but occurs by questioning, connecting information, examining it, and articulating governing principles and truths from it.
Prime opportunities for learning, therefore, arise in conversation. We are essentially forced, through the need to communicate our ideas with other people and to hear and understand the knowledge and points of views of others, to ask questions, integrate concepts, study them, and draw collaborative conclusions from them. The question for educators, then—whether we are homeschooling parents, tutors, or teachers—is how best to nurture these good conversations.