Deliberative discussion about contested public issues can be a stressful experience. Discussion participants are asked to share opinions about and eventually search for consensus around a controversial topic. Sometimes, discussion participants come into the deliberation having very different and very strong views about the topic. Some participants may even have deep personal connections to the topic, which can then make the discussion even more delicate.
Integrating effective social-emotional learning practices into Street Law’s Deliberation format and facilitation techniques supports students in developing the skills and competencies to engage in difficult, yet necessary, discussions.
This learning resource includes the following:
- SEL Mini-Lessons: These three short mini-lessons on Norms, Listening, and Empathy, support skill-building for key aspects of deliberative discussion.
- Ice Breakers for Small Groups: To support relationship-building, Street Law has put together several short, simple ice breakers that small Deliberation groups can complete prior to the Deliberation. These ice breakers are meant to build comfort and generate empathy prior to engaging participants in difficult discussion.
Want to learn more? Read detailed descriptions of the Deliberation method and social-emotional learning in deliberative discussions.
Because this resource includes issues related to race and social identity, Street Law recommends: Teaching Street Law Content Involving Race and Social Identity. This resource can help teachers bring content about race and social identity into their classrooms. It offers some advice and questions to help guide decisions about teaching this content while affirming students’ identities.
- Format: multiple downloadable PDFs (You must create an account and "check out" to download free resources. You will not be required to provide payment information.)
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