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Civil Discourse

Classroom Conversations for Stronger Communities

Teachers can become strong facilitators of contentious conversations when approaching civil discourse through the lens of courage, understanding, belonging, and empathy.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071856192
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Teaching Essentials
  • Year: 2022
  • Page Count: 216
  • Publication date: May 05, 2022

Price: $39.95



Build civil discourse with courage, understanding, belonging, and empathy.

Discomfort lies at the heart of all learning and growth, especially concerning discussions on difficult and complex topics like climate change, slavery, and police brutality. This book presents ways to help teachers become strong facilitators—not endorsers—of contentious conversations to promote a stronger sense of community.

There are four themes that arise when exploring civil discourse: courage, understanding, belonging, and empathy. This book is organized around these themes, each chapter providing resources for educators to teach the skills of discourse with:

  • How-to tips for bringing work beyond the classroom
  • Chapter checklists to guide progress and assess learning
  • Exploration of different types of discourse (dialogue, discussion, debate) and when to use each
  • Steps for preparing a classroom for contentious conversations
  • Activities to practice discourse and disagreement

Addressing the problem of how to have politically and emotionally charged conversations in the classroom, this book guides 6-12 educators – particularly teachers of history, civics, ELA, and other social studies and humanities disciplines -- in facilitating discussions based on fact, intellectual reasoning, and mutual respect.



Joe Schmidt photo

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt has worked as a high school teacher and college professor for elementary pre-service teachers, and has also held roles in district and state-level leadership in support of both rural and urban schools. Throughout his career, he has served in a variety of leadership positions with social studies-related organizations across the United States.

Nichelle Pinkney photo

Nichelle Pinkney

Nichelle Pinkney has been a social studies educator for the past 16 years as a classroom teacher to a K-12 curriculum director. She has presented and trained teachers nationally and internationally. Nichelle holds a Masters of Art in Educational Administration from Lamar University and a Bachelor's degree from Salem College in Sociology, Women’s Studies (minor). Nichelle has found passion in providing equitable education to every student. She has worked to revise curriculum to ensure that it is diverse, equitable and inclusive for all students and teachers.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Courage: Why discomfort cannot be avoided

Chapter 2: Understanding: Gaining clarity on the meaning of terms

Chapter 3: Belonging: Establishing a classroom community

Chapter 4: Empathy: Preparation with safe topics

Chapter 5: Discourse: Structures for contentious topics

Chapter 6: Growth: Improving and expanding our impact

Conclusion: Staying the Course and Continuous Improvement




Price: $39.95
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