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How to Do a Dialogue

How to Do a Dialogue on the American Jury

If you are a lawyer or judge interested in leading a Dialogue on the American Jury at a high school in your community, follow these steps to help ensure a meaningful experience for you and the students.

Identify a school.

Contact a school where your or your friends' children are students, a school in your neighborhood, or a school where you know members of the teaching staff. Friends and co-workers might also recommend a school that would like to participate in the Dialogue program.

Set up an appointment for your visit.

Contact the high school principal or head of the relevant department (social studies, history, government, or civics). Explain the program to them and offer them a copy of the Dialogue materials. Ask if they or another teacher in their school would be willing to devote a class session to the Dialogue and schedule a day and time. You will want somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes.

Discuss your visit with the teacher.

Discuss the ages and experiences of the students. Determine what part of the Dialogue you would like to focus on and provide the teacher with a copy of the materials you wish to discuss. Also consult with the teacher about additional background materials that might help the students. Request that the teacher have name tags or tent cards printed with the students' first names, and ask for any other equipment you might need (a blackboard or flip chart, for example).

Prepare the class for your visit.

Ask the teacher to distribute any materials or assign any background readings you want the class to discuss at least one day before your visit.

Prepare yourself for your day in class.

Know your subject. Review the Dialogue materials before you go to class and think of additional questions you think will help the students explore the issues raised by the Dialogue. Have a planned outline of where you would like the discussion to go, but be prepared to be flexible. Personalize the topic by thinking of experiences from your own practice that you can relate to the students.

Use the Anticipation Guide to begin and end your Dialogue.

The Anticipation Guide is a tool you can use to help students formulate opinions on the issues they will discuss and reconsider their thoughts after the Dialogue ends. Have enough copies made for everyone in the class and take a few minutes to work through the guide at the beginning and end of your Dialogue.

Follow up after the Dialogue.

Write a thank-you note to the teacher and the class. Make yourself available to answer questions the class may raise following the Dialogue.