5 Tips for Civic Dialogue in an Online World

Posted by Dr. Cara Berg Powers on November 29, 2017

During the holiday season, we often find ourselves sitting across our family members, trying to keep our conversations civil and polite, particularly when politics surface. It's important to remember the same type of civil discourse is needed at the virtual table. Here's five tips for civic dialogue that we can all keep in mind for ourselves—and the young people around us who are growing up in a social media landscape. 

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Topics: civil discourse

5 Tips for Civic Dialogue in an Online World

Posted by Dr. Cara Berg Powers on May 9, 2017

I am of the first generation in my family to grow up with the Internet at home as a tween and teen. Granted, we had Prodigy and AOL, and I had to make sure no one was on the phone to get my weekly Baby Sitter’s Club story. Still, one thing that was true then remains true now: as a teen I was a lot savvier about online spaces than my dad. In fact, my dad relied on me to get our AOL set up when we got our first computer. So it may surprise you when I tell you that kids today—despite being born into the age of social media and interconnectedness—can be terrible at navigating this digital landscape.

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Topics: civil discourse

Let 2017 be the Year of Fostering Civil Discourse

Posted by Dylan Wray on December 15, 2016

South Africans, like many people in the United States right now, and many in Colombia and the United Kingdom, have been thinking deeply about who we are, where we came from, and where we are heading as a country. In 2016, South Africans also woke up, one morning, to a changing shift in the political landscape—a view we had become accustomed to. What seemed unlikely once was now before our eyes. Local government elections saw major cities across the country, including Pretoria, the seat of government, now in the hands of the opposition. Where once race divided our votes, now the need for an accountable, honest, and committed government has begun to unite us.

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Topics: South Africa, Shikaya, International, current events, reflection, civil discourse

(Re)Building Classroom Community Post-Election

Posted by Karen Barss on November 16, 2016


In the wake of the divisive United States election, educators are in a unique position to help students develop their skills as civic actors, thinkers, upstanders, and problem-solvers. This work isn’t easy in the best of times, but it’s particularly challenging during times of deep division and intolerance.

The following resources—from Facing History and our partners at StoryCorps—are designed to help your students gain critical thinking skills, empathy and tolerance, and a sense of civic responsibility.

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Topics: difficult conversations, Community, Classrooms, Teaching Resources, civil discourse

What Next?: How to Move Forward Together After a Divisive Election

Posted by Karen Murphy on November 10, 2016

This was a particularly difficult election for the United States. It exposed deep divisions and it was a year of ugly rhetoric and angry, sometimes violent, exchanges among people. Racism, misogyny, sexual assault, xenophobia, antisemitism, and just plain cruelty headlined news stories and became trending topics across social media. Many Americans could not wait for November 9th to arrive just so it would be over and they could move on. But “moving on” isn’t going to help Americans to address the tensions and issues raised by the long campaign season and the election itself. The election was a mirror held up to Americans, exposing deep damage and it created more at the same time.

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Topics: Democracy, difficult conversations, civil discourse

Why I'm Talking About Race in the Workplace and You Should Too

Posted by Mitra Best on November 7, 2016

I’ve always believed we can inspire young people to create a more compassionate future through education, both formally and informally.

While programs like Facing History educate our middle and high school students to promote a more humane and informed citizenry through examining racism and prejudice in historic events, I haven’t found much support for us, as adults, in tackling difficult topics like race, hatred, and bigotry in a respectful manner.  

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Topics: race, Racism, difficult conversations, civil discourse

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History: Civility, Politics, and Facebook - Can’t We All Be Friends?

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on October 25, 2016

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. Today we will take a look at the presidential election and how it is influencing our activity on social media.

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Topics: Listenwise, Social Media, difficult conversations, civil discourse

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History: Immigration in the U.S. Presidential Election

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on September 28, 2016

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the presidential election and each candidate’s position on immigration.

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Topics: Immigration, Today's News Tomorrow's History, Listenwise, Refugees, Refugee Crisis, civil discourse

Join Us in the #Civility2016 Campaign!

Posted by Aileen McQuillen on September 16, 2016

As revealed in Teaching Tolerance’s report last spring, teachers are encountering a variety of challenges this election season ranging from bullying and fear among immigrant and Muslim students, to uncivil discourse and behavior in schools, classrooms, and the playground.

In the midst of a divisive presidential election, how can educators create classrooms where students learn to exchange ideas, listen respectfully to different opinions and experiences, try out ideas and positions, and give – and get—constructive feedback without fear or intimidation?

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Topics: difficult conversations, Teaching Strategies, Facing Ferguson, civil discourse

Practicing Civil Discourse During a Not-So-Civil Presidential Election

Posted by Kent Lenci on September 14, 2016

Each year at the Brookwood School in Manchester, a small coastal town in Massachusetts, we bring our seventh graders to a summer camp in Maine to kick off the school year. It’s a unique opportunity to build our class community and center ourselves for the challenges ahead. Our theme for the year is “responsibility,” one that is incredibly timely during this year’s heated presidential election. As we teachers encourage students to take responsibility for themselves and to care for others, it’s worth taking stock of our professional responsibilities during this electoral season. What is our role?

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Topics: difficult conversations, Teaching Resources, Democracy, Facing History Resources, civil discourse

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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