Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for
Classroom Conversations

How can you create a safe and reflective classroom where students learn to exchange ideas and listen respectfully to each other? What strategies are most effective in helping students practice constructive civil discourse? 

FosteringCivilDiscourse.pngIn the midst of a divisive United States presidential election and ongoing issues related to race, justice, and policing, educators are rightly concerned about the lessons that today’s middle and high school students might be absorbing.

Educators have an essential role to play in creating classrooms where students learn to listen respectfully to different opinions and experiences, try out ideas and positions, and give—and get—constructive feedback without fear or intimidation.




This guide provides strategies designed to help you navigate these challenging times and support your students to develop effective skills for civic participation.

  • Create a reflective classroom
  • Develop a classroom contract 
  • Provide opportunities for student reflection
  • Establish a safe space for sensitive topics 
  • Implement teaching strategies that provide space for diverse viewpoints and encourage active, engaged listening