Real World Dialogue started in 2006. It started out as an experimental, on-line journal project where educators and students could dialogue about topics related to community, diversity and equity. In the last few years, through my own research about what it means to be a critical theorist and a mindful agent of change, this space has expanded to include topics related to consciousness, human evolution and the role of the human spirit in leading large scale social movements.
The big idea here is that we must engage in practices that help us to understand the true nature of our selves, how we experience reality, the purpose of education and the unique role of a teacher in a seemingly diverse society. Engaging in dialogue about tough questions that cut across fields of study is part of the praxis I call Conscientious Engagement (CE).
Sharing and journaling our experience validates a collective spirit consciousness that we are not okay with what is going on in education and we are not satisfied with a society that perpetuates inequality. It communicates to the world that we are part of something greater than ourselves, that it is our intrinsic nature to value all life and human beings equally, that we are born with a sense of shared-responsibility, that our work in education must activate the three domains of the human experience which include the mind, body and spirit– and in doing so, we give rise to a new education practice that prepares us for an egalitarian society.
Exploring what it means to be conscientiously engaged is asking hard questions. How do our thoughts, beliefs, ideologies manifest themselves in our daily lives through language, our choice of words, the nature of our relationships, and how we channel energy that may impede or strengthen our commitment to equity in society? I believe that authenticity and agency in education is contingent upon our capacity to critically engage with our mind, body and spirit consciousness every day and to clear the space for new systems of thought. One of the greatest perils of our time is the lack of imagination in our practice of education (Ríos, 2017)
Some posts that you will read are simple articles. Others are poems or streams of consciousness. Others take the form of a dialogue in which two people ask each other questions, listen deeply and respond. I believe that freedom of expression and style of communication is a way to exercise agency at a time when we much of our media and forms of communication are controlled. Reaching out and communicating with people outside your traditional sphere of influence is another essential part of the practice of Conscientious Engagement.
This is a space to speak truth and seek truth together. Together we can explore new ways of seeing ourselves from the inside out, transcend identities and ideologies that divide us and discover a new, shared more humane space. Who are you? What is your life’s purpose? How can we build an egalitarian society together?
Founder & Lead Writer
Dr. Raquel Ríos has worked nationally across the United States and internationally in Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Puerto Rico. She specializes in language acquisition, critical literacy, social justice and change leadership. She has extensive experience designing and delivering curriculum and instruction to teachers, instructional coaches and school leaders and has published several articles on-line about issues related to equity and education. She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Touro University International, a MS in Elementary Education from Lehman College and a BS in Secondary Foreign Language Education from New York University. Currently, she is an instructional designer at New Teacher Center, a national resource on mentoring and coaching for teacher effectiveness located in Santa Cruz, California. She lives and works out of New York.