Fostering Civil Discourse

Fostering Civil Discourse PDF cover image

This is a resource that we featured in our CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY 2020 Collection.

The ideas and tools in this guide are designed to help you prepare your students to engage in civil discourse, whether you are teaching in-person, remotely, or transitioning between the two.

How we talk about things matters. The philosopher Hannah Arendt said that the essence of being human is participating in discourse with others:

However much we are affected by the things of the world, however deeply they may stir and stimulate us, they become human for us only when we can discuss them with our fellows... We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.

This guide includes highlighted sections on how to use this while "Teaching Remotely."

From the introduction: "Engaging in civil discourse means bringing your mind, heart, and conscience to reflective conversations on topics that matter, in ways that allow you to extend your understanding in dialogue with others. It does not mean prioritizing politeness or comfort over getting to the heart of the matter."

This PDF Resource is a Teachers' Guide for not just how to craft an ongoing set of learning experiences at this time and beyond, but on how to work through your own feelings and mental preparation. It outlines and provides resources for four steps:

  1. Start With Yourself
  2. Build Community and Trust
  3. Facilitate Reflective Conversations
  4. After the Conversation



  • After School and Beyond
  • Congregational Learning
  • Day Schools and Yeshivas
  • Family Engagement
  • Teen Engagement