What to Do When Discourse Breaks Down: Strategies for Navigating Class Debates

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What to Do When Discourse Breaks Down: Strategies for Navigating Class Debates

Join Sante Mastriana and Share My Lesson for an interactive session on navigating class debates. This session will be structured around discussing a set of difficult classroom scenarios and considering what techniques, approaches, and strategies would help teachers and students best navigate or avoid similar scenarios.

Now Available On Demand. Original Air Date: March 26, 2020.

This session will help participants: Understand purposes of classroom discussion, debate, and deliberation; Learn facilitation techniques and deliberation/debate structures; Apply facilitation techniques to a set of challenging classroom scenarios

Example scenarios we will discuss include: A student uses unreliable sources to make an argument; A student uses their religious beliefs to support a position on public policy debates; here is limited diversity of opinion in your classroom; and, While discussing a controversial issue, one student says something that offends another student or group of students.

Participants will receive: Several activities to structure class debates and deliberations; A set of principles and guidelines for facilitating discussion and debate; A series of probing questions to foster deeper engagement in class discourse; and Tips and techniques for avoiding or addressing breakdowns in discussion.

Skills: Identify when to apply particular facilitation techniques; Design classroom debates and deliberations in order to reduce tensions and heated disputes; Develop probing questions in order to enrich classroom discussions and defuse difficult situations.


Available for one-hour of PD credit. A certificate of completion will be available for download at the end of your session that you can submit for your school's or district's approval.

This resource is a part of the following collections: 


March 2020
March 2020