Supporting Students in Civil Discourse

by Alan Gottlieb | Partner, EXPLO Elevate

In today’s tense social, economic, political climate, happening amidst a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic it has never been more important to engage respectfully across the aisle with those who have differing views or beliefs. In our piece, Dialogue Across Difference: Supporting Students in Civil Discourse, we share examples of schools and organizations building students’ skills in empathy, bravery, and navigating difficult situations to build a stronger community. We close with tips for schools who want to support students in building their civil discourse skills.

Download our full article: “Supporting Students in Civil Discourse.”



The piece highlights civil discourse work happening at the following:

The Waynflete School’s Dialogue Project aims to “make dialogue a keystone habit in the upper school so that when encountering someone with a different viewpoint, instead of seeing that as a place to fight or flight, kids see it as an opportunity to learn.”

StoryCorps is a 15-year-old project that brings people together in a recording studio who are seemingly opposed politically to tell their stories, have a conversation, and get to know each other on a human level. Many of the recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.

Observing how the web’s obsession over clicks and audience engagement rewards snarkiness over substance, Kialo (the Esperanto word for reason) founder has built a free online hub and for civilized, structured, and productive debate.

Following the the 2016 presidential election, the founder of Make Shift Coffee House saw a serious political divide. He decided to bring people together, “not to find common ground, not to agree, not to persuade each other about who’s right, but simply to understand each other.”

Download our full article: “Supporting Students in Civil Discourse.”



Professional Development Opportunity

Supporting civil discourse is important work for our students and for each other. For faculty and administrators, our piece aligns closely to our professional learning offering: Challenging Conversations: A Survival Kit.  Click below to learn more details on this course and how it can support school leadership and faculty at this critical time.

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