Commit to building conversational spaces, not merely declaring them…
In his book Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom (2018), Matthew R. Kay highlights the key to conducting conversations about challenging topics. “In order to nurture hard conversations about race, first we must commit to building conversational safe spaces, not merely declaring them.”
Discussion protocols support the development of the listening and speaking skills necessary for productive conversations about subjects that are difficult to talk about. They also facilitate self-reflection, honesty, inclusion, and sharing. Rooting discussion in mentor texts, art, and primary sources can also build confidence.
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This list is lengthy and comprehensive. Click on “Protocols by Tag” to more easily find ones that suit your purposes and goals.
Facing History offers a broader range of “teaching strategies” that goes beyond discussion protocols to include structured classroom activities designed to “strengthen your students’ literacy skills, nurture critical thinking, and create a respectful classroom climate.”