Tools for Productive Group Dialogues

Tools for Productive Group Dialogues

These pieces offer educators lots of tools for supporting group dialogue overall! Great for any teaching on any subject!

Guidelines for Respectful GSA Discussion (GLSEN)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: This short list has great examples of community agreements that may be helpful for classrooms or groups having difficult conversations. (e.g. “Use I statements”).

Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations (Facing History and Ourselves)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Suggestions for strategies helping students practice constructive civil discourse.(requires registration/login)

Engaging Your Class Through Groupwork. (Morningside Center for Social Responsibility)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Concrete descriptions of nine techniques teachers can use to encourage constructive interaction among students using small groups.

The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies (Jennifer Gonzales/Cult of Pedagogy)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: 15 formats for structuring a class discussion to make it more engaging.

Can We Talk? Tips for Respectful Conversations in Schools, Workplaces and Communities (Anti-Defamation League)

  • Grade Level:  K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Useful strategies for engaging controversial topics in classrooms.

Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories About Bias and Injustice (Anti-Defamation League)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Suggestions, strategies and resources to help make such discussions rich and productive for students.

Establishing a Safe Learning Environment (Anti-Defamation League)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Initial ideas for establishing safe environments for discussion.

Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism (Anti-Defamation League)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Initial ideas for laying groundwork for discussion of race/racism issues, particularly in schools.

Ten Ways to Talk to Students about Sensitive Issues in the News. (Jinnie Spiegler/NY Times Learning Network)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Ten concrete steps for engaging controversial topics in classrooms.

Teaching about Controversial Issues (Morningside Center)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: “Nine all-purpose guidelines to keep in mind”: general insights on preparing to teach real and controversial subjects in classrooms.

Let's Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students (Teaching Tolerance)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: A short publication on preparing to discuss race/racism in class. Pages 8-11 offer useful tactics to use in the moment with students during discussions (thumbs up/thumbs down, fist-to-five, etc.).

Let's Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students (educator webinar version) (Teaching Tolerance)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Webinar version of above.

Let's Talk! Discussing Black Lives Matter in the Classroom (educator webinar)  (Teaching Tolerance)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Webinar on BLM discussions specifically.

Civil Discourse in the Classroom (Teaching Tolerance)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: More ideas for supporting “civil” dialogue.

Talking Across Divides: 10 Ways to Encourage Civil Classroom Conversation On Difficult Issues (New York Times Learning Network)  

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: More ideas for supporting dialogue on “difficult” issues.

Tips and Ground Rules for Intergroup Dialogue (National Association for Multicultural Education) 

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: ideas for helping youth “learn to discuss diverse identities.”

Mica Pollock, Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About—and To—Students Every Day (New York: The New Press, 2017).

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: This book is all about thinking critically about talk in school. Accessible chapters can help get people thinking critically together about how people discuss students’ “groups,” opportunities, intelligence, communities, “cultures,” skills, everyday lives, and parents. Lots of THINK/DISCUSS questions to prompt dialogue. Requires getting a copy of the book.

Finally, check out these tools on “restorative circles,” in use across the country for classroom dialogues that heal conflicts and build relationships. “Circles use a highly structured process to create a safe space where people can share their feelings and experiences.”

An Introduction to Circles. (Morningside Center)

  • Grade Level: K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: Short piece outlining the basic elements of Circles.

Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles. (Center for Restorative Process)

The Restorative Practices Handbook. (International Institute for Restorative Practices.)

Restorative Circles in Schools: Building Community and Enhancing Learning. (International Institute for Restorative Practices.)

Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community.

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/11/10/after-racially-charged-dispute-manual-and-weld-central-students-heal-division-together/ and https://vimeo.com/241776178  (Just one example of many: educators and students healing divisions after a conflict in Denver, through restorative dialogues)

Want to keep discussing any of these issues with educator colleagues? Join us in the national #Schooltalking Facebook group!

Discussion Strategies (Facing History and Ourselves)   

  • Grade Level:  K-12 educator professional development
  • Highlight: great activities for discussion of any issue involving many perspectives.

Engaging Your Class Through Groupwork. (Morningside Center for Social Responsibility)

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