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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Timeout! A new method for civic dialogue

by Markus Palmén
Language: EN
Document available also in: PL HU


Civic dialogue skills are one of the cornerstones of citizenship education. Respectful deep listening and communicating, aiming at understanding other people’s views is an antidote to today’s polarised political climate, social media echo chambers and fragmented social realities.

Several methods for facilitating a group dialogue exist: the World Café method, and the Socratic dialogue method to mention but two.

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra has developed a new method for civic dialogue, called the Timeout. A traditional facilitator-led dialogue at heart, the process-like method features innovative tools for trust-building and motivating passive citizens.

In the video Project Manager Janne Kareinen from Sitra takes us through Timeout’s concept with hands-on tips for dialogue organisers. The method’s resources are available for anyone to organise a full Timeout dialogue or to improve any group discussion.


Watch the video above or jump to the following timecodes in the video to learn about

  • The core concept of Timeout 00:53
  • How Timeout differs from other dialogue methods 04:16
  • How to use its open source resources 01:27
  • ‘Experience talk’ as a method for understanding and trust-building 03:18
  • Timeout’s invitation methods to reach passive groups 05:08


Resources and further reading


Markus Palmen is a journalist, writer and audiovisual producer, and a freelancer. Since August 2017 he has been EPALE's Thematic Coordinator for Policy. For eight years Markus was the Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief for the European Lifelong Learning Magazine(link is external).

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