Open Discussion Salons

You will meet regularly online for open discussion salons in the tradition of classic Age of Enlightenment philosophers. These informal gatherings have impacted the evolution of human ideas and communication for centuries and are meant to stimulate collaboration and innovative thinking. The purpose of these salons is to create a sense of community and to generate relaxed conversation about health and wellbeing that can lead to greater insight and new ideas as you move through the fellowship. Salons may take place in-person or online. 

Basic Principles of Salon-Style Discussions

  • Salons should include unrestricted, unbiased dialogue between participants in an open and respectful forum that values inter-subjectivity as a method of learning.1,2
  • Everyone contributes to the development of knowledge, including students and novices, whom are rich sources of experience.3
  • All thought and ideas are of someone else or something; isolated thinking is impossible as learning is continuous and emerges during interaction with others.3
  • Interdisciplinary approaches should be encouraged, and increasing the diversity of thought and voices will strengthen ideas.3
  • “Knowledge is constructed through social interaction and dialogue” aimed at promoting equality.4
  • Conversational modes of learning are associated with “increased motivation and engagement…deeper levels of understanding, increased metacognition, the development of higher-order thinking skills, and divergent thinking.”5
  • Salons “provide us with the opportunity of gathering with others and breaking the chains of isolation that keep us in our heads; they lead us out into the heart of the human community” through discussion with one another as opposed to at one another.6

Salon Participants will Engage in…

  • Openness, honesty, respect for others and a certain amount of creativity and spontaneity.
  • Critical and deep reflection on ideas and our own thoughts and reasoning.
  • A willingness to talk less and listen more.
  • A commitment to valuing all ideas equally until natural discourse proves them less valuable.
  • An integration of ideas from various disciplines and groups, including patients, students and the communities we serve, particularly those who are voiceless or suppressed.

Participating in INFF Salons will…

  • Foster a sense of community among the cohort and stimulate collaboration on personal and pedagogical transformation.
  • Encourage innovative and creative thinking that will directly contribute to success with course renovation while providing a fresh approach to instruction.
  • Integrate peer and student feedback into the fellowship process, enriching content and nurturing new perspectives.


1Brookfield, S. (2006).  Discussion as a way of teaching.  Retrieved from
2Racionero, S. & Padros, M. (2010).  The dialogic turn in educational psychology.  Revista de Psicodidactica, 12(22), 143-162.
3Bartlett, L. (2005).  Dialogue, knowledge, and teacher-student relations:  Freirean pedagogy in theory and practice.  Comparative Education Review, 49(3), 344-364.
4Gomez, A., Puigvert, L & Flecha, R. (2011).  Critical communicative methodology:  Informing real social transformation through research.  Qualitative Inquiry, 17(3), 235-245.
5Thomas, M.J.W. (2002).  Leaning within incoherent structures:  The space of online discussion forums.  Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 2002(18), 351-366.
6Davetian, B. (n.d.).  The history and meaning of salons.  Retrieved from