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February 6th

posted Feb 6, 2019, 8:36 AM by Mike Costello

Define Civil Discourse

1.  Ask the class if they know what civil discourse means.  Use their answers to form a working definition: civil means polite or courteous, and discourse means spoken or written communication and debate.


Civil discourse involves having conversations that are polite and respectful, especially when people disagree.  People in a community need to learn to live together despite their differences and being able to have respectful discussions with others who have differing opinions is important for any society to thrive and grow.

If interested, here is a two-minute video on civil discourse:


Activity #3:  Components of Civil Discourse

1.  Monitor your tone and control your emotions.  Avoid adopting a tone that suggests you are right and the other person is wrong or that you have all the answers.  Nobody likes a know-it-all. Stay calm and keep your emotions in check; getting angry tends to block effective communication.

2.  Listen to their point of view and restate it.  Restating their opinion lets them know you hear what they are saying; it helps to make a person feel validated.  When possible, find common ground with their viewpoint and concede where they are making good points.

3.  Admit when you have a bias.  Opinions are not based in pure fact; often a bias is present in a person’s point of view.  Admit when you have a bias, it shows you’re honest, and may allow others to see they have a bias of their own.

4.  Agree to disagree.  Intelligent, reasonable people are going to disagree at times.  This does not mean one person is right and the other person is wrong, they just see things differently.  Understanding another person’s perspective allows us to get along with others and helps us to examine and reflect on our own thoughts and views.  Strive to be accepting and respectful of all people, no matter your differences!