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Accountable Space Resources


Creating Discussion Guidelines. (n.d.). UC Berkeley Graduate Student Instructor Teaching & Resource Center. Retrieved October 16, 2023, from

Getting Started with Establishing Ground Rules: Center for Teaching Innovation. (n.d.). Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation. Retrieved October 16, 2023, from

Other Sample Community Agreements

Resource Library: Teaching Strategies and Activities for Difficult Conversations (n.d) Solutions Not Sides:

Institute for Global Change: Activities to Encourage Difficult Dialogue in the Classroom

Colorado State: Tense Times Activities and Handouts

University of Chicago Center for Teaching. Worksheet for Facilitating Difficult Conversations: 

Topic-Specific Resources

Perceptions of whether, how and why different conversations are considered challenging will vary. In any case, educators are likely to face added difficulties if lacking context or resources to responsively navigate high-stakes topics. The resources below are offered as a starting point to think about effective norms and objectives when approaching critical and polarizing issues.

The specific topics included here are in response to requests and suggestions from the school community, and are by no means an exhaustive list of important or complex conversations. If there are other topic areas or current events that could benefit from additional resources to help navigate, please send us your requests.

Jason Jay, MIT. Beyond Polarization: How to have productive conversations in an era of extremism. Technology Review, October 23, 2018.

Andrea Bear and Jean Cook: Teaching News Literacy in Politically Polarized Times, Faculty Focus, February 13, 2019.

Anti-Defamation League: Let’s Talk Politics: Bias, Dialogue, and Critical Thinking

Interview with Laura Hoxwarth, University of Virginia: Improving Dialogue Across the Political Divide. UVAToday, August 16, 2019.

Kimberle Crenshaw on Intersectionality. Time Magazine

Douglas Starr (2020) The Science of Unconscious Bias.

Glen Singleton: Beginning Courageous Conversations about Race

Let's Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students

Singleton, G. & Linton, C. (2006). Courageous Conversations About Race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press Inc. Adapted by Angela Brown, VSB Anti-racism & Diversity Consultant

Cameron and Jeffries (2021) Anti-Black Racism in Canadian Education: A Call to Action

Podcast: Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi

Recommended Literature

Ahenkorah, E. (2020). Why Safe and Brave Spaces don't work, and what you can do instead. Medium.

Ferguson, Ge and Schwartz (2023).Managing Difficult Conversations in the Classroom. Toronto Metropolitan University, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center. (2020). Strategies for challenges in dialogue facilitation.

University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning & Teaching. (n.d.) Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics:

Haslam, R.E. (2019). Interrupting Bias: Calling Out vs. Calling In. Seed the Way LLC.

Merculieff, I. & Roderick, L. (2013). Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education. Anchorage, AK: University of Alaska Anchorage.

Howard, J. (2019) “How to Hold a Better Class Discussion.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. [Excerpts]

Inclusive Teaching Forum: Discussion Guidelines. (n.d.). Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved October 16, 2023, from

The Guardian: How to use Classroom Conversations to Improve Learning

Faculty Networks and Support