Ground Rules for Ensuring a Civil ConversationNote to Dialogue Leaders: Before beginning your Dialogue, distribute these ground rules and review them with the students. ( Download Ground Rules)
One of the hallmarks of a democracy is its citizens' willingness to express, defend, and perhaps reexamine their own opinions, while being respectful of the views of others. To ensure a civil conversation:
- Show respect for the views expressed by others, even if you strongly disagree.
- Be brief in your comments so that all who wish to speak have a chance to express their views.
- Direct your comments to the group as a whole, rather than to any one individual.
- Don't let disagreements or conflicting views become personal. Name-calling and shouting are not acceptable ways of conversing with others.
- Let others express their views without interruption. Your Dialogue leader will try to give everyone a chance to speak or respond to someone else's comments.
- Remember that a frank exchange of views can be fruitful, so long as you observe the rules of civil conversation.