|How to Discuss Controversial Issues in Class: Reflective Structured Dialogue – Overview|
|Use ProCon.org and reflective structured dialogue to explore controversial topics that may make participants feel defensive initially in a constructive discussion format that promotes listening, speaking respectfully, and appreciating other viewpoints.
|Begin by choosing a topic the students are likely to have personal experience with. Students should be given the ground rules, the format of the conversation, the topic, and the expectation that this will be a dialogue rather than a debate.
Format of Conversation:
This lesson plan is based on the Reflective Structured Dialogue developed by Essential Partners (formerly Public Conversations Project) as described in the following articles:
Jill DeTemple and John Sarrouf, “Disruption, Dialogue, and Swerve: Reflective Structured Dialogue in Religious Studies Classrooms,” Teaching Theology and Religion, July 18, 2017
Beckie McMurtrie and Dan Berrett, “Running Class Discussions on Divisive Topics Is Tricky. Here’s One Promising Approach,” chronicle.com, July 19, 2018
ProCon.org Topics: Any micro site. See full list of debate topics.
Subjects: English, Civics, Social Studies, History, Composition, US Government, Public Policy, Debate, Communications
Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6