Are you interested in hosting a monthly bipartisan (or nonpartisan) discussion in your library, high school, community, church, or household? It’s easy! These steps can help, but remember to make projectciv work for you!
- Spread the news! Use social media to advertise your discussion and share the articles for people to read. This could be done by a google doc or linking to the articles by topic we have here! Of course, people can bring their own articles to share with the group.
- OPTIONAL:for the discussion, you can have nametags for people to fill out. For a political discussion I might have red nametags, blue nametags, and colorless nametags. Your color nametag goes along with your primary political ideology (red=republican, blue=democrat, colorless=independent/other). I try to make diverse groups of 6 so everyone has a chance to talk. So I might have 2 reds, 2 blues, and 2 colorless at a table. If you do have a very skewered group, try to spread out people. So if I had 60 people, but only 6 Democrats, I’d spread them out. Remember, just the fact that people have read diverse views (by reading the articles) mean they will be exposed to different viewpoints! You are welcome to try out different configurations of people to see what works for your discussion.
- At each table, have a copy of the articles (for reference) or a computer available where students can quickly get to the articles.
- Set the tone: welcome everyone. If possible, have snacks available (snacks are a big draw for teenagers!). I remind people of the rules of civility: no ad hominem attacks, seek to understand, use I statements. Many of the ideas are contained in these ground rules.
- Discussions usually last 30 or so minutes. In the last five minutes, I usually ask each table to summarize their ideas. You could even give each group a big sheet of paper to write down their summary.
Got questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back in contact with you!