talking about ... relationships first- middle school & high school
AllSides for Schools — a heart mind initiative -- is a partnership between AllSides and Living Room Conversations. This offering to middle school and high school educators is a coupling of the Living Room Conversations relationship awareness with AllSides critical thinking has is already used by educators in 42 states.
How we treat each other is the difference between a great place to live and a bad place to live. We shape our world through relationships. Most people agree we want communities where all people have dignity and respect. Yet respectful interactions are often not what we see modeled in the media and in politics. And far too many people feel disrespected in their lives. What is our role in these dynamics? This Living Room Conversation is designed to create a space to talk about our experiences and shared aspirations. This is an adaptation that includes three rounds of questions instead of five
Click here if you would like a pdf of the following topic material to share with your cohost and friends.
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Background reading (optional)
While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Round One: Deepening our Connection. Prior to talking about the issue at hand, the focus of our first round is really just getting to know each other on a deeper level - establishing some rapport and common ground. Answer one or more of the following:
- What sense of purpose, mission, or duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
Round Two: Hearing Each Other Out. How do you feel about this issue? The focus of this second round is to give us a chance to hear each other out more deeply. Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or two of the following questions:
- Have you ever seen or been in a conversation where people were not listening to each other? How did that turn out?
- Have you ever taken a position or voiced an idea that was very different from the group you are part of? How did that feel? OR... Have you ever decided against speaking out because it just wasn't worth the repercussions?
- Can you remember a time when you and a friend interpreted the same information very differently? Why do you think that happened?
- Describe a friend or relative with whom you are able to talk about hard things in a respectful way and “hold the tension of your differences.” What is the difference you have with this person - and why do you find it worthwhile to talk in this respectful way together?
- When have you used respect and listening to resolve a problem? Did it work?
Round Three: Reflection & Take-away's. What Came Up for You? Answer one or more of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation.
- What new learning or appreciations do you have about the quality of relationships?
- Have you found common ground or areas of interest that surprised you?
- What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
- Would anyone be interested in continuing this conversation or starting a new one?
Closing– Thank you! Please complete the feedback form to help improve Living Room Conversations.