This article details a four-faceted approach we developed to help structure discourse about topics in partisan arenas, many of which intersect with issues of equity and social justice. The article’s narrative centers on challenging and emotionally charged discussions that unfolded in a classroom management class in our teacher preparation program on November 9, 2016, the day following the election of Donald Trump. We offer the approach, which centers on addressing cognitive biases common in partisan discourse, as a robust, straightforward, and nontechnocratic way to help teachers (both teacher preparation instructors and teachers of children) mediate partisan discussions among their students and to help them situate their personal beliefs within a professional context. When practiced well, the approach invites discussants to engage fully and authentically with ideas even when discourse threatens to become fractious and can help students who may disagree actually hear one another, consider one another’s ideas, and make decisions not as bitterly divided partisans but as members of complex, multifaceted, multicultural communities.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/grinell_smith/22/