How can you create a safe and reflective classroom where students learn to exchange ideas and listen respectfully to each other? What strategies are most effective in helping students practice constructive civil discourse? How can educators create a place where students can exchange ideas, listen to different points of view, try out ideas, and give – and receive – feedback without fear or intimidation?
“Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations” covers how to create an environment that supports difficult conversations. You’ll learn to do this through trust and openness, setting ground rules of respect, providing opportunities for reflection, and establishing safe spaces for students to discuss sensitive topics. The guide also provides tips on effective teaching strategies for facilitating conversations on difficult topics.
What You’ll Learn
“A Guide for Classroom Conversations” includes tools such as:
- Start with Yourself
- Develop a Reflective Classroom Community
- Create a Classroom Contract
- Provide Opportunities for Student Reflection
- Establish a Safe Space for Sensitive Topics
- Implement Effective Teaching Strategies
The following strategies can be effective in facilitating conversations about sensitive topics. These strategies create a safe space for multiple points of view and encourage active listening.
- Big Paper: Building a Silent Conversation
- Save the Last Word for Me
- Barometer: Taking a Stand on Controversial Issues
- Four Corners Debate
For more educational resources on engaging students in examinations of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism, visit the Facing History and Ourselves website. Visit the On-Demand Learning Center where you can take a variety of offerings based on your time and interest that are classroom videos, on-demand webinars, and self-paced workshops.
- Do you find yourself having to address difficult topics? What techniques do you use to facilitate those conversations?
- Which strategies addressed in the guide would be useful for you in leading a discussion about sensitive subjects?