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Curriculum for Teaching Mediation Using Conceptual Metaphor            Curriculum for Teaching About Conceptual Metaphor

Under Development  (not entirely coherent)

What We Need to Know About Conceptual Metaphor and the Teaching of Mediators

Mediators have been helped by what they have learned from representational theories of conflict, interpersonal behavior and psychology, rational decision-making, etc.  The next step in educating ourselves in conflict resolution, I believe, is to learn more about the dynamic metaphoric systems that account for and perpetuate conflict.  Will this shift in focus from representational psycho sociological theories to more of a cognitive linguistic approach amount to a paradigm shift in conflict resolution?

Here are several related tasks:
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Investigate in what specific ways knowledge of conventional metaphor systems arising in mediation settings (both for clients and mediators) improves the conflict resolution process.

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Does teaching of conventional conceptual metaphors enhance one's ability to generate and use situation-appropriate novel metaphors?

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What are the best ways to teach or learn sensitivity to complex metaphor structures, such as central or governing metaphors, hierarchies of inheritance, event structure, etc.?

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What most effectively brings the metaphor process into conscious awareness?  Learning theoretical ideas?  Certain experience or exercises?  Learning how to ask questions?...

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Can we train coders to uncover metaphor in client and mediator interaction?

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What are typical metaphor systems of disputants or various classes of conflicts?

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What are typical metaphor systems of mediators/negotiators from various disciplines or schools?

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What shifts in metaphor systems constitute "resolution" or conflicts?

Curriculum for Teaching About Conceptual Metaphor:

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Intro, Including operatives of Listening, Questioning, and Extending

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What is Metaphor?  Literal parts of concepts.  Figurative attributes or dimensions.

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Questions that a good theory of conceptual metaphor must address:
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Linguistic expressions explained?  Systematic linguistic correspondences.

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Inference patterns used to reason explained?  Governs reasoning and behavior coming from that reasoning.

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Imaginative, novel expressions explained [and suggested]?

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The metaphoric scenario -- more general description of situation or task, stated in terms of metaphor structure (e.g., conflict is forces moving things... elements of conflict are objects; these objects are moved or held in place by emotional, cognitive and behavioral forces; emotional forces are gases under pressure; cognitive forces are load-bearing, structural forces; behavioral forces are self-propelled movements...)

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Source and Target Domains; the Invariance Principal ("metaphoric mappings preserve the cognitive topology (image schema structure) of the Source, and preserves the inherent structure of the Target (which limits what can be mapped -- e.g., you can give someone a hand and still have it, yourself, afterwards))

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Entailments -- often at superordinate level; [sometimes "entailments" are actually descriptions of special cases, i.e., different level of description; look for qualities of another type]

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Special Cases -- at basic or subordinate level of category abstraction, information rich, may give contradictory or inconsistent readings (because of duals, etc.), must investigate in detail and not settle for metaphoric mappings at superordinate level.

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Metaphoric Mappings (can have main mapping, sub mappings [based on] entailments, special cases, sub cases and inherited entailments):

e.g., People in conflict correspond to physical objects in motion,

               Joe refuses to budge is an object that won't move from it's location, 

            People in violent conflict correspond to objects in violent motion,

        Issues disputed correspond to other objects,

        Bargaining positions correspond to locations or configurations of locations in space,

        What is negotiated corresponds to changing locations in space,

        Pressure, Power corresponds to forces...

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Categories, Radial Definitions of, Prototypes and How the Inference Structure of Metaphors Operates Instantaneously to Categorize Actions and Events, Without Reflection
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Superordinate, basic level and subordinate categories.  Mappings in the Source are at superordinate level (e.g., vehicle, not car or Buick).  (see Special Cases, above)

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Basic semantic categories are metaphorical [could be learned/taught recursively]: Categories are Containers; Levels of Abstraction in Categories are Levels of Concentric Containers; Linear Scales are Paths; Quantity is Up-Down; Concepts are Objects; Properties of Objects are Possessions of those Objects; also Concepts are Locations; Similarity is Proximity; Similar Concepts are Concepts Located Close to Each Other.

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Major Categories in Family Conflict, ... promoting..., upholding..., protecting..., limiting..., developing..., nurturing..., helping..., expressing empathy..., moving forward with...,

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Darlings and Demons...

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Simultaneous Mappings -- because metaphors are fixed sets of correspondences and they can pick out parts of Targets, while other metaphors or other special cases of the same metaphor pick out other parts.

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Two Classic Modes of Using Simple Metaphor in Mediation (including development per Savannah)
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Guiding Metaphor
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Conventional metaphor systems found in typical disputes

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Conventional metaphor systems favored by mediators

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Extensions useful in shifting viewpoints and expanding options

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Operating Metaphor
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Detecting and Uncovering

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Asking questions, extending...

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Multiple Metaphors (intro)

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Hybrid of above: Co-created metaphor; novel metaphors

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Complex Metaphor Systems
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Elaborate, unified organization of particular metaphors producing overall inferential or logical structure (categories of right and wrong action)

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Some promise that, through understanding complex metaphor systems, we may move forward more effectively in our understanding of how individuals and communities think, learn and create their realities.

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This understanding is metaphorical, consisting of complex systems of metaphor.

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Complex metaphor systems are made up of individual metaphors connected in a network, that operate both autonomously and interactively, control is distributed, these systems can produce novel outcomes that can be explained retrospectively but not predicted prospectively, while divisible into subsystems for the purpose of study the subsystems do not function alone, they are indeterminate, non-linear, irreducible, self-adapting...

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Examples
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Everyday, Grounded Conventional metaphor systems (e.g., Journey)

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Specialized, Complex metaphor systems  (e.g., Fitness Landscape)

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Inheritance Hierarchies - mappings occur at super ordinate level; basic level inherits inference structure from super ordinate level (e.g., Love is Journey (subordinate), Life is a Journey, Event Structure (superordinate).

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Event Structure and Parameters for Mapping
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Event Sequence (Aspectual Structure)

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Event Shape (Generic-Level Structure - states, changes, processes, actions, causes, purposes, means are metaphorically understood in terms of containers, paths, space, (motion) and force dynamics -> Events are Objects Moving in Space)

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How to put together the mappings of a metaphor system
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Conventional (e.g., common sense about divorce)

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Novel (unusual approach to unique family situation, e.g., children's nest)

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Complex (e.g., what's fair after being dumped; a well-known mediator's theory)

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Is there an overall metaphor that brings together subparts and applies complex system to conflict at hand?

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Parameters of Variation
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Linear Scales

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Pragmatic vs. Ideal

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Centrality

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Focus

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...

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What is Needed to Understand Complex Systems in Real Time
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Necessary exercises

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The dilemma of mastering dynamic, adaptive systems using step-by-step analytic methods

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Strategies for influencing complex metaphor systems

Metaphors Operate as Complex, Non-linear, Dynamic, Adaptive Systems.  While we may use a singular metaphors effectively in circumscribed situations, fully understanding disputants' points of view and negotiating resolution of conflict requires us to apprehend the manner in which a variety of metaphors operate simultaneously to pick out multiple aspects of the situation at hand.  Each metaphor may hold a fixed correspondence between Source and Target Domains, but the interaction of multiple metaphors forms a dynamic system.

What is the Implication of Giving Metaphor a Central Place in Theories of Conflict Resolution?

We recognize that mediators, through training and experience in conflict resolution, plus a lifetime of learning verbal and conversation skills, already manage the complex system of metaphors in use by their clients and themselves.  Up until now they have done this intuitively, besides using the guidance of various deterministic, representational, reductionist theories of conflict, interpersonal behavior, psychology, rational decision making, etc. that purport to explain complex thought and behavior as simplified, linear systems.  We want to extend this ability by recognizing that conflict and the behavior of disputants in mediation arises instead from co-formed, unconscious, embodied cognition, especially dynamic systems of metaphor.  These systems do not have fixed inputs and outputs, but adapt and change dynamically, more in the manner of living systems than mechanical ones.

Course or Training Outline for "Teaching About" Metaphor

Survey of work (see Bailey, particularly Low's teaching metaphor) with metaphor and its practical application.  Exercises and role-plays would be used throughout.

From Milton Erickson onward, including the variety of methods that have appeared in recent years (Slegelman, Ferrara, Kopp, Barker, Lankton, et. al).  Here we learn how to choose guiding metaphors (allegory, myth, extended metaphor), uncover operating metaphor (those used by clients), and how mediators and clients can co-create metaphors. 

Metaphor applications in organizational behavior (e.g., Gannon) including how cultural metaphors are used in the training of international negotiators. 

The survey would be tied together with the more systematic work in cognitive linguistics and psychology (Lakoff, Johnson, Turner, Gibbs, Fauconnier, et. al.).  This constitutes what can be called “metaphor theory”.  It covers conventional (widely shared) and novel metaphor, evidence for its unconscious operation, and the metaphor structure underlying our commonsense understanding of such concepts as change, causation, purposeful behavior, mental states, the self, time, and fairness.

NOTES ON MEDIATORS' APPROACHES TO MEDIATING, AND ALSO TO TEACH RECURSIVELY THE MEDIATION PROCESS:

Conflict is about thinking, feeling and doing.  Metaphor is a major process underlying thinking, feeling and doing. To learn about the metaphor process is to learn, therefore, about conflict and how it may be resolved.   This act of learning, itself, involves metaphor.  Can we say that this act of learning, if understood more consciously while it is happening, is somehow (fractally) the same as conflict and its resolution?

Properly done, you could teach mediation and conflict resolution to people by guiding them in the exploration of their own metaphors, and the metaphor process that occurs in their own thinking as they are exposed to or experience conflict and conflict resolution. The hypothesis is that if you teach people to master the metaphor process consciously they well be best able (among other things) to identify and resolve conflict.  

Any experiential learning about the metaphor process should be helpful, and experiential learning about the metaphor process used in particular conflicts and their resolution will be most helpful for mediating those kinds of conflicts.  Further, it should be superior to analytic or representational attempts (although those adept at metaphor could benefit from such traditional approaches, also).

Curriculum for Teaching Mediation Using Conceptual Metaphor:

So, the truly comprehensive education of a mediator might best be as follows:

  1. Learning About Metaphor As Free From External Conceptual Influence As Possible  To approximate "experiential" learning from direct contact:

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Assumption is that a person will learn about what metaphor is if (a) the person is confined to observing one individual only and (b) that concepts not be "imported" from external sources, but created from direct observation.

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Choice: Use (1) self or (2) other's words and actions to explore initially.

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Examine (Procedure for Examining) words, recent behavior, (ask about) bodily feelings and sensations that stand out.
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Identify concepts involved.
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Concept is a schema tending to have certain essential attributes (schema is container or path..., attributes are objects/possessions...; understanding this is seeing it...); prototypes; exemplars (prototypes are originals, exemplars are copies).  Name concept (name is metonymy), list attributes, give prototype and significant exemplars, and say how you discriminate.

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To identify, note what stands out for you (concepts are objects, identifiable concepts are identifiable objects) and list these things; ask what stands out overall; if nothing seems to stand out or there is not words for it, use "focusing".

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Identify categories involved.
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Categories are groupings of different objects or events such that the category name makes everything within the category the same -- using concepts and their attributes to group thin

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Identify concepts that may be figurative:
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Incongruous (Definition and Procedure for Identifying)

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Gaps (Definition and Procedure for Identifying)

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...

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Identify metaphoric concepts

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Identify primary conceptual metaphors; conventional metaphors; novel metaphors.

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Learn basic distinctions between source and target domains.

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Identify literal meaning present in target domain where no source domain included.

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List implications/entailments.

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Correspondence mapping:

 Taking each element of the source domain (agents, affected parties, force/movement, locations, obstacles) and specifically identifying what it corresponds to in the target domain allows you to consciously trace the mapping of the metaphor.  People in conflict correspond to people looking at and moving on terrain; solutions to issues correspond to locations on the terrain; common ground corresponds to locations on the terrain both would like to go to; accusations correspond to particles dispersed in air; cloud so thick corresponds to cloud or fog that prevents seeing the landscape and finding one’s way.

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Generic-level structure, e.g., Action is Self-Propelled Movement, Purposeful Action is Movement Toward a Desired Location, Obstacles to Movement… (people finding their way over terrain, according to paths picked out visually, obstacles are what get in the way of seeing.

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Identify conventional metaphors present vs. novel or creative ones, e.g., Tasks are Journeys, Vision is Bodily Limb, Obstacles are Impediments to Movement.

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Form Hypotheses.

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Demonstrate polysemy

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Demonstrate inferential structure (perhaps also illustrating with poetic/novel forms)  e.g., If you can’t see you can’t move, seeing allows you to determine proper path, locations exist that both would like, mutually desirable locations do actually exist and only the cloud prevents us getting there, clouds don’t just disappear – some wind is needed and the source of the cloud must stop before we can see.

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Locate concept on subordinate-superordinate continuum; check for basic level.

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Find special cases (more subordinate level)

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Identify aspect, event structure, event shape...

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Map metaphors

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Identify consistent categories of action

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Identify dimensions of variability

 

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Reiterate with second person (could be selected as "conflictual")

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Compare

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Identify differences that may account for "conflict" (conflict may occur due to a variety of reasons, e.g., differences in terms of dimensions of variability, incompatible in terms of metaphoric movement, overlapping mappings, new mappings that require relinquishment of old due to expanded coverage, failure to use complimentary mappings, etc.)

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Hypothesize shifts necessary for "resolution" 

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What is the difference between identifying conflict based on theoretical incompatibility of conceptual systems, vs. conflict reported?  Can we reliably predict conflict based on conceptual systems before it has resulted in overt friction?

  1. Introducing Selected Concepts; noting effect on own mapping; selecting concepts for particular effects.  This may approximate the everyday experience of unplanned exposure to ideas, info, etc.

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Concepts that pick out aspects not as yet conceptualized

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Different Concepts that pick out same aspects as already conceptualized ® new conceptualization

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Concepts that would do things difficult or impossible in bodily movement terms 

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Concepts that are somehow independent of recipient's conceptual system - that is, that would seem irrelevant; do they have any effect?

  1. Introducing External Conceptual Systems; complimentary/enhancing/contradictory:  This may approximate the educational experience intended to "form" the mind.

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Complimentary/enhancing/contradictory in terms of event, path and time structure.

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In terms of subordinate-basic level-superordinate position.

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Grounded vs. less grounded concepts.

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Examples of systems from theories of mediation

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Examples of typical systems in family, workplace, etc. conflicts

  1. [spare]:

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  1. Introducing Protocols (example text or description of behavior) Where Other Conceptual Systems Are Known to Operate and You Map Them:  To approximate "experiential" learning of pre-formed conceptual system..

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Instead of defining concepts and mappings, give examples where known conceptual system is operating and let students map them.

The overall idea is that learning about (bringing into conscious awareness and exploring) the experience of conflict and conflict resolution in conceptual metaphor terms, because it better takes into account the way thinking works, affords greater awareness of (including freedom of choice in using) the influence of the mediator's conceptual metaphor system upon the clients' systems.

Recursive method of teaching/learning occurs by subdividing the above into definition-procedure parts and exercise parts so that the desired progression occurs.  The progression is intended to

  1. Make use of the definition-procedures to enable the learning at each stage,
  2. Have the tools of the learning be the same as the substance of the learning (e.g., the concept of concept is of the same generic form as the concept of conflict, the metaphor system for metaphor system is of the same form as the metaphor system for mediation), and
  3. Use one's own experience, experience with those in conflict and conflict resolution, accounts of others in conflict resolution and their theories, summary accounts of types of conflict -- all as the subject matter for exercises while learning about conceptual metaphor.
  4. Discover the minimum necessary instructions or learning tools to enable one to re-invent this whole thing.

Course or Training Outline for "Teaching Using" Metaphor

Experiential approach would involve a recursive format based on the premise that mediation is understood metaphorically (i.e., mediators directly experience the process to some degree; then they unconsciously create their understanding of what clients needs, what dynamics are in play, what might best be done – using metaphor).

Students learn basic rudiments of metaphor theory and then, as an assignment, apply them to reveal the metaphor structure underlying certain schools or modalities of mediation.  In small groups they combine and summarize to what degree they were successful, what insights are revealed, what didn’t come together, and they form questions about metaphor to report to the class.

These findings and questions are discussed and then they learn more metaphor rudiments that build on the foregoing.  This time they apply their learning to reveal the metaphor structure that currently guides their own approach to mediation.  Again the small group process is used.

A final round responds to student needs for clarification and additional depth in metaphor theory, and then they design the metaphor structure that supports and guides their “ideal” mediation model.

This latter format has an experiential advantage, offering accessible concepts to serve as a basis for progressive exploration by students, with more depth provided as a resource (rather than as a strict syllabus).  The concepts and tools of metaphor theory are learned as needed to discover and understand the unconscious metaphoric features of one’s own and other’s mediation process.  (In the foregoing you may read “mediation” as any program, change process or disciplined provision of service that students are interested in.)