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Tools & Resources

Classroom Activities & Curricula

Encountering Controversial Ideas – A Conversation Guide

Students attend college for many reasons, including to learn about the world, to develop critical thinking, and to hone employable skills. In recent years, colleges and universities have struggled to determine how to include or if they can include a variety of ideas that challenge students’ understanding of charged issues in their curriculum and in the academic environment. Students, faculty and administrators naturally bring their own experience and perspectives to the classroom. The purpose of this conversation is to share experiences that create greater understanding of what helps or hinders the free exchange of diverse ideas in the higher education learning environment.

 

This guide was created by HxA and Living Room Conversations (LRC). LRC is a non-profit organization, founded in 2010 by two women on different sides of the political spectrum, with the goal of bridging divides through conversation. LRC believes that divides are not inevitable: “We hope for a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds learn to work together with respect – and even joy – to realize the vibrant future we all desire for ourselves and our families. Through applying and adapting our conversational model, we hope participants will build relationships that generate understanding and enable collaborative problem-solving.”

 

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We are compiling a compendium of initiatives, policies, programs, and other innovations that have been deployed in classrooms, on campuses, and in disciplines to support open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. We want to hear practical strategies, tools, and resources that have worked for you, and that others can readily adapt and implement in their own institutions. These can range from entire courses to syllabi, reading lists, and research. Learn more & contribute.

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