Stavroula Bibila

PhotoI have been working with CD, both as a Speaker and an Understander, for a number of years now. When acting as the Speaker I obviously get to enjoy the immediate benefits of CD; finding a solution to a work-related problem and improving teaching/research practices. In the long term, the subtleness and complexity of the work involved in CD means that, as a Speaker, I gain an insight to my professional values and beliefs. This self-awareness is perhaps the most valuable benefit CD can bring. Although CD is centred on the Speaker, I personally find that as a reflective Understander there have been times where I got an insight into my teaching values and beliefs by simply trying to identify and suspend them so that I refrained from making a suggestion to the Speaker. The ability of the Understander to engage in a non-judgemental, yet directed, conversation goes beyond mastering the CD techniques (manoeuvres) and displaying the attitudes of respect, empathy, sincerity. It requires practice and the ability to recognise and reflect on what makes you the person/professional that you are. CD is an approach to professional development that requires a strong commitment by both parties and a willing and able Understander. I believe that lack of any of these two elements can get in the way of a truly beneficial CD exchange.