A civil discussion is a way of communicating with other people. Its purpose is to facilitate understanding and contribute to societal good. Its existence is a result of freedom of speech. However, it can be problematic in certain contexts. In such a case, it is important to consider the benefits and risks associated with using civil discussion.
To avoid conflict and misunderstandings, civil discussion should be accompanied by respectful actions and behaviors. This means that you should listen carefully and avoid side conversations. It is equally important to ask questions, clarify your own ideas, and respect the opinions of others. And, last but not least, you should avoid resorting to emotions, which can exacerbate the situation.
“To promote civil discussion, teachers can start by providing basic training on the subject.” ~ Urgency of Civility
If you are in a situation where the other person uses personal attacks, it is especially important to avoid putting them down. When possible, you should try to assume that the other person has good intentions. Instead, try to find a point of agreement where both parties can work together. In addition, it is important to observe the tone and facial expressions of the other person.
To promote civil discussion, teachers can start by providing basic training on the subject. For instance, K-12 Dive offers an overview of the subject. Educators can also check out Utopia’s Teaching Kids to Argue Respectfully, which provides information on controversial topics and how to engage students in civil discussion.