Dawson students practice civil discourse


October 17, 2016

Photo courtesy of Dawson Kristen Medler’s fourth grade class at Dawson School learned the art of debating and listening respectfully to other’s ideas.

How do people learn to respectfully discuss sensitive topics? On Wednesday, Oct. 5th, the entire Dawson student body, grades K-12, participated in a morning of learning about and practicing Civil Discourse.

The goal was learning to debate appropriately while also practicing the art of listening and formulating persuasive arguments. Topics were chosen that would be less emotionally charged than others, while still giving students the chance to formulate and defend a constructive argument about a current event.

Students were guided in how to be an active and empathetic listener, and an honest and respectful participant - all in age-appropriate ways. Topics included:

• Clean water is a privilege, not a right (yes or no).

• Social media does more harm than good.

• In a crisis situation, a government should withhold information from the public to ensure safety.

• American citizens should be required to serve in the armed forces.

• Treating people equally means treating them the same.

The intent of the school-wide event was to lay a foundation for civil discourse with students that will help facilitate conversations in classrooms throughout the year.


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