Invitation Accepted: Integrating Invitational Rhetoric in Educational Contexts
The transformative power of dialogue has the potential to serve as a healthful alternative to unproductive strategies for problem-solving in many communication contexts (Ryan & Natalle, 2001). Sadly, educational contexts emerge as contexts in dire need of such communicative reconstruction, evidenced by the alarming increase in incidences of hostile caregiver/educator communication. Offering a new paradigm for educators affected by hostile communication, this essay proposes the application of invitational rhetoric, a theory and practice developed in the field of Communication Studies, aimed at the civil "disarmament" of hostile communication, rooted in dialogue and openness. Illumining how the tenets of invitational rhetoric -- value, safety, and freedom - may be employed in potentially destructive caregiver-educator communicative exchanges, this essay provides relevant illustrations demonstrating how these tenets could diffuse hostile communication in educational contexts. The marriage of this theory from the field of Communication Studies with the field of Education is a sensible and productive step toward assimilating another strategy that educators may use to better serve students.