Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations

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Facing History and Ourselves is a non-profit international educational and professional development organization. Their mission consists of engaging students from diverse backgrounds to examine racism, antisemitism, and prejudice to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. The guide leads with the following paragraph, which puts the topic of constructive public discourse at the heart of the future needs of the democratic country,

In the midst of a divisive United States presidential election; ongoing issues related to race, justice, and policing; and a series of tragic acts of violence around the world, educators are rightly concerned about the lessons that today’s middle and high school students might be absorbing about problem solving, communication, civility, and their ability to make a difference. The next generation of voters needs models for constructive public discourse to learn from; the strength of our democracy requires it. But such examples seem few and far between.

Facing History and Ourselves have produced a Guide for Classroom Conversations; a 16-page guide providing tools on how to help prepare the classroom and your students to practice civil discourse in a way that develops a reflective classroom community, a classroom contract, creates opportunities for student reflection, establishes a safe space for sensitive topics, and implements effective teaching strategies.

Access the guide through this link.