If you find yourself in a discussion that is out of control or threatens learning …
• Never attempt to ignore the conflict.
• Step back, let the situation cool off, buy yourself time to think.
• Acknowledge the speaker or tension and redirect the conversation:
“For now, let’s agree to disagree on (this topic)” …, do a quick write, take a 5 min break…, and we will revisit it on…
• Return to the conversation on a different day after you have had a chance to assess the situation and consult with colleagues and/or university resources.
• Ask students to write a short reflection paper about the conflict that requires more research about the topic and/or argue for the position they oppose.
• Bring in an outside facilitator to move the conversation forward.
Difficult Dialogues Resources and References