Establish discussion agreements that foster listening,
respect, courage, and accountability. Examples include:
Use "I" Statements: speak from experience and avoid
generalizations. Think of the difference between "we all agree that..."
versus "I agree," or "no one agrees with you" versus "I disagree."
Intent versus Impact: assume best intentions, and take
responsibility for any negative impacts. Think of it as accidentally stepping
on someone's foot and apologizing. While it was not your intent, it had an
impact on their foot.
Practice "both-and" thinking: Try to explore new ideas
and perspectives. Try to avoid binary, "either-or" thinking, and focus on
finding common ground.
Take space, make space: be aware of how you are talking.
If you are sharing a little or not at all, consider taking up more space. If you
are sharing more than others, consider making space for other voices.
Expect and accept lack of closure: In discussions about
difficult topics, there may not always be concrete answers or conclusions.
For more resources about healthy and effective discussions,
including a sample list of class guidelines and sentence frames, check out these
resources from EduTopia.