Editor’s note: At Provost’s Forum on October 19, 2022, Kristin Novotny, Chuck Bashaw, and Dave Mills presented a session on facilitating conversations about polarizing or difficult topics with students. They have kindly contributed their slides and resources.

NOTE: It takes preparation and practice to get students ready to have difficult discussions. If you have not considered how to build students’ discussion skills, please refer to our Scaffolding Discussions article.

It can be hard to know how to address the degeneration of public discourse over the past several years. How do we start meaningful conversations when people are so polarized? Fortunately, we can learn a number of effective processes that incorporate the skills of dialogue and deliberation. These tools urge us not to just jump into conversation, but to be mindful of constructing the right container to turn a difficult conversation into a different conversation. Note: the last slide in this slideshow contains a variety of resources; to access them, simply scan the QR code into your phone.

Explore more resources!

This article was originally published on the CLT blog in November 2022.

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