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?

That’s the question our #Civility2016 Campaign, presented in conjunction with Teaching Tolerance, is wrestling with. We are connecting educators to the resources they need to promote civil discourse in their classrooms during these contentious times.

Key to the campaign will be our Twitter chat, “#Civility2016: Creating a More Civil Classroom this Election Season.” It will take place during a special #sschat on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (EST).

The chat will be moderated by Teaching Tolerance (@Tolerance_org) and Facing History (@facinghistory), asking you, the teachers of America, a series of questions to help guide the discussion.

We invite you to share your own experiences and hear from teachers around the country about how they are meeting the challenge to promote civility in their classrooms.

The chat will also encourage teachers to exchange ideas on how to use the upcoming presidential debates to teach lessons about political discourse and civility.

In addition to the Twitter chat, we will be joining Teaching Tolerance in using #Civility2016 to promote useful resources for teachers throughout the election season, so make sure to follow the hashtag!

Don’t miss this timely and relevant Twitter chat!

Tune in on Tuesday, October 4, from 7:00 pm. – 8:00 p.m. (EST).

Hashtag: #Civility2016

Facing History and Ourselves resources:

  • Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations: Inside this resource, you will find guidelines for creating a reflective classroom, establishing a safe space for sensitive topics, developing a classroom contract, providing opportunities for student reflection, and implementing teaching strategies that provide space for diverse viewpoints.

  • Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital Age: Co-created with the News Literacy Project, this unit explores the events and “information aftermath” surrounding the death of Michael Brown to help students learn how to develop news literacy skills to become more critical consumers, creators, and amplifiers of news and information. Activities and lessons from Facing Ferguson can be used during the election to develop students’ critical thinking, literacy, and social-emotional skills and competencies. The lessons also model strategies for maintaining civil discourse, considering multiple perspectives, and creating a classroom culture of safety and respect in the face of current and controversial issues.

Teaching Tolerance resources:

  • Speak Up for Civility:  This contract, designed by Teaching Tolerance’s teacher advisors, provides a way for families, educators, and staff to commit to some simple behaviors that model good citizenship and respectful dialogue.

  • Election 2016:  This microsite compiles information to help educators teach students how to recognize and counter bias, get along, explore controversial topics respectfully, participate in civic life, and find reliable and accurate election-related information.

  • Teaching Tolerance, Fall 2016 Magazine This issue includes a number or articles and resources about teaching the 2016 election.

Topics: Teaching Strategies, Facing Ferguson, difficult conversations, 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.


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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