Touchstones Discussion Project enables people to seek their own voices, to listen to those of others, to build self and mutual respect, and to develop personal and institutional integrity.
We believe that educational institutions, corporations, governments, and NGOís work best when they actively foster the dignity and humanity of students, teachers, employees, and citizens.
Touchstones Discussion Project builds basic learning skills through unique discussion groups which enable people of all cultures, races, and ideologies to communicate with each other and to uncover common goals and visions. They become active life-long learners and develop skills to map and navigate an ever-changing future.
History of Touchstones
In 1984, three senior faculty members of St. Johnís College, Annapolis, MD, created the Touchstones Discussion Project. They are Howard Zeiderman, Geoffrey Comber, and Nicholas Maistrellis. Today over 250,000 students in the United States and abroad participate in weekly Touchstones sessions. This remarkable impact comes from the recognition by educators that new skills are needed in both professional and personal life to cope with and excel in our rapidly changing world. Touchstones discussions present a format within which students of all backgrounds can develop such needed skills as problem solving, questioning, listening, cooperating, and teaching oneself.
At St. Johnís College all classes are conducted as discussions. The college therefore was a laboratory in which the creators of Touchstones could grasp the potential of discussions as a new foundation for teaching and learning.
Over the following decade, working extensively with student and teachers in public, private, and parochial schools around the country, Touchstonesí creators devised discussion techniques to create a classroom environment that fosters a new set of cognitive and behavioral skills. These were first implemented in schools and then in other institutional environments where people work, study, or live together. The elderly, members of the military, corporate clients, and the incarcerated are all participating or have participated in modifications of the original program. Special materials and approaches have been devised for specific requirements and goals of each such group.
Touchstones Discussion Project is a private organization
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