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.

On Demand version is available in closed captioning in English and Spanish.

Lesson tags: 
Available in Spanish
Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-commercial NoDerivative CC (BY-NC-ND)


April 2020
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March 2020