This Tuesday Tip is brought to you by Sue Peterson, Chico State Speech and Debate Coach.
The November 3rd election has created challenges for class discussion, but also opportunities to have meaningful conversations. Given the complex and controversial nature of the election and American politics, though, these conversations are not always easy to manage and moderate.
Sue will talk with faculty about how these conversations might be helpful for students before and after the November 3rd election through the Living Room Conversations model.
Living Room Conversations is an organization that offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for 60-90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. The format transfers well into a small group activity in the classroom.
The organization provides for a guided conversation that is designed to foster understanding by gathering information and humanizing the issues. Participants first agree to a set of foundational agreements used for discussing any controversial issue in a productive way. Scripts are available on the 2020 election, race and racism, Coronavirus, environmental concerns, guns, healthcare and so much more. These scripts offer the chance for everyone to feel safe, heard, and understood.
Sue Peterson, has used the Living Room Conversation framework in her General Education classes and the students found them to be valuable as a way of engaging topics and issues that they are often fearful of having with others. The scripted questions and time guides help to create a space to share more easily. Students reported that they felt they could communicate “with sincere inquiry and thoughtful reflection” and that they “felt seen and heard by the members of their group.”
For a list of other events to support election dialogue, go to Wildcats Engage.