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Find Your Voice, Find a Community, Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

“I thought it was great! I really liked coming together with Thai people, Spanish people, people from Italy. It was definitely a meeting of the minds”

“This is my first time and I think it’s a good community. It’s good to be here and to join and to listen to what other people think.
Actually, Thai people don’t show their opinions on things like this. I think this is creative and we can share our true self through our ideas and opinions.
Because it’s a group of people made up of strangers, so we can share our true ideas on those topics.
It’s very good to be here and to join the session today.”

“Being Thai, it’s not normal for us to have the chance to discuss any topic in public with strangers.
Normally we would need to have a few beers to get the courage.
But this space is safe and makes me comfortable to share my thoughts. I don’t have to be scared to be criticized.
Aristotle’s Cafe makes me think more critically and I really like this atmosphere and the discussion leader is great.
If you are living in Bangkok you should come, it’s a great opportunity for you to practice your speaking, listening, and critical thinking skills.”

“I found it a really inspiring place where lots of different people came together.
We talked about freedom and what it means to us. It went all over the place, but we always kept the right perspective I think.
It was really inspiring, and I think we all feel empowered by this meeting.
And we’re all good friends now!”

“I think this experience is very entertaining. But more than entertaining it’s enlightening.”

“Aristotle’s Cafe is one area that’s brought new friends into my life. It’s also an outlet. I can share my opinions, I can share the things I have learned before. I need this outlet as a kind of application for my knowledge. Without this, I have no idea what I’ve learned. To know what I have learned, I need something to take that knowledge out of my body. This is the group that has given me the chance to take my knowledge out. That is the main thing I’ve gotten here.”

“เป็นโอกาสที่ดีที่ได้มานั่งฟังความเห็นของคนอื่น การมานั่งกับคนแปลกหน้าตอนแรกเราก็จะมีการตัดสินคนอื่นไปก่อนแล้ว แต่พอได้มาพูดคุยกับเขาจริงๆ ความคิดมันก็จะเปลี่ยนไปว่าเขาต่างจากที่เราคิดไว้ตอนแรก ทำให้เราเป็นคนไตร่ตรองในการรับข้อมูลมากขึ้น

It is a great opportunity to sit and listen to other people’s opinions. At first, sitting with strangers made me start to judge them right away. But after really talking to them, I was proven wrong. They were very different than how I originally thought. It made me learn to think more before I make decisions.”

“Aristotle’s Cafe for me is a place for people to come together to speak about different ideas…
Like today, we spoke about freedom. What it means to us.
We found out actually that the group was really glued together in many different aspects without being alike.
Which is really really interesting. It was a really nice mixture of people with different backgrounds. But ultimately finding similar truths.”

“Joining Aristotle’s Cafe has made me realize something…
When you someone shares their opinion, you don’t always want to listen. The best thing here is that you have to – maybe you like it, maybe you don’t.
This helps open your mind for something that you might not have agreed with before…
Also, when you speak other people listen to you. This validates you and this is how strangers can come together to understand each other better.”

“At first I was quite worried because I’m not a talkative person…
I’m an introverted person who always needs some time to think about what I want to reflect on.
But I found that the last one hour is very interesting and entertaining for me to listen to.
I feel like I didn’t talk much but I felt engaged all the time because I was so interested to hear what other people think.
I might be lucky because it was my question that was chosen…
[Will Humans live longer than before, if so how will our lives change?]
So I was quite surprised to see how people think about this topic that I’ve had on my mind for a very long time.
There are so many unexpected aspects that I never thought of before – now my world has grown so much wider than when I walked in.
Now when I think of this topic again I will have so many ways and so many routes that people here have built that I can develop my opinions and thoughts on this topic.
It was such a good experience!”

“I find the discussion very beneficial as I am a university student and there is not much chance to talk about these topics normally.
It is also very interesting that we have people from different culture and background sharing their thoughts.
And especially from foreigners, I can see the perspectives from different countries. I also like making friends this way.”

Benefits Backed By Research

A safe place to share your ideas and opinions. An outlet for your questions. A place to learn through conversation and free expression.

We never like to get very technical, but we’ve actually carried out Qualitative Research that has revealed that Aristotle’s Cafe has major benefits for participants.

Through the use of invitational rhetoric and the Socratic method, Aristotle’s Café discussions establish a safe venue to share ideas, opinions, and questions. It also serves as a place to learn through conversation and free expression (Foss & Griffin, 1995). With minimal verbal participation, a facilitator assists the group in discovering and sharing their thoughts on the topic of their choice. The initial question explored is chosen by group submissions and then a majority vote is used to narrow the question down to just one.

Facilitators are trained to pose questions that explore depth and complexity rather than adding extraneous input. These discussions last about one hour. Aristotle’s Cafés are currently being sponsored at three mid-sized universities around the United States.

The forum uses an open style of communication. It is not a unidirectional type of communication as most lecture methods, but rather a flow of ideas and questions (Hawkins-Leon, 1998; Sattler, 1943; Schiller, 2008).

While this might not be a traditional lecture, the Socratic Method has been shown to have benefits (Boghossian, 2006; Ekachai & Parkinson, 2002; Garside, 1996; Gordon, 2003; Paul & Elder, 2007; Tsui, 2002; Tucker, 2007) and thus Aristotle’s Café is a powerful supplement to instruction.

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