Teaching the art of conversation during a divisive election year

By Jackie Zubrycki. Reprinted from Education Week.

It’s often tough for teachers to figure out how to talk about political issues or current events in class. During a divisive election year, it’s even more difficult.

The news site AllSides.com and the nonprofit Living Room Conversations recently released a set of lessons aimed at helping teachers navigate those conversations as part of a program called AllSides for Schools. It’s called “Elections and Relationships,” and the goal is to teach young people in grades 8-12 how to examine controversial topics from all sides and discuss them civilly, even when they disagree.

The heads of the organizations that created “Elections and Relationships” point out that their partnership models the kind of discourse they’d like to see in classrooms. John Gable, the founder of AllSides.com, and Joan Blades, Living Room Conversations’ founder, have different political views—Blades identifies as a progressive, while Gable is more conservative.

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