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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Paraphrasing to Organize

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


September 21, 2015

This month, we are revisiting pausing and three types of paraphrasing with the intention to revisit fundamental skills of Adaptive Schools and Cognitive CoachingSM. The second type of paraphrase, organizing paraphrases, moves from rapport and comprehension to a more mediative intention, operating in the analyzing level of the cognitive domain. As listeners, we are attending to parts and putting them in some orderly fashion or in containers. For example, “There are two issues that concern you about this proposal.” “You are operating with a sequence of steps in mind.”

Metaphorically, the containers we offer assist the speaker in organizing the clutter of thoughts that may be flooding his/her mind. Seeing clusters, patterns, order, or categories offers a way to make sense of the rush of thoughts.

The organizing paraphrase is especially useful in a group setting when many people have spoken and the group may be losing track of the flow and key ideas. An organizing paraphrase such as, “We seem to be hearing two key themes hear, one is about the importance of innovation and another about providing some certainty for our community,” can assist a group in grappling with complex issues.

This week’s invitation is to listen at the level of analysis in conversations. How does listening to for parts and their relationships affect your ability to paraphrase to organize? What are you noticing about when and how you most often use this type of paraphrase?

How has being paraphrased for organizing been useful to you?

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