Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Talking Politics

How can educators be ready to talk about politically charged topics in and beyond the classroom?

Not many people like conflict, and in the current climate, talking politics almost by definition conjures up conflict—or an echo chamber. Maybe conflict is best avoided at the holiday dinner table, but on a college campus, conflict is a learning opportunity. The secret to talking politics effectively is preparation, or what we call “readiness.”

Are you ready to facilitate discussions about controversies in public life? Do you have the skills to frame, organize, and manage discussions? Have you thought ahead about anticipated pedagogical—in the moment—challenges? Should all ideas be heard, or are some antithetical to learning goals, democracy, or humanity? What is your responsibility as a discussion participant, not facilitator?

Do It

Facilitating Political Discussions: Facilitator Training Workshop Guide
These materials include 13 modules with handouts, training tips, and descriptions of activities that build basic skills for facilitating groups with diverse perspectives, social identities, and lived experiences.

Bring IDHE to Your Campus

Whether virtually or in person, IDHE can visit your campus to lead a workshop on facilitating politically charged discussions, join a classroom or coalition discussion of ideas for change, or help assess your campus climate for political learning and participation. Contact us at [email protected] and let us know how we can help.