Letís take some time to talk about good discussion. Hopefully, we all know now that seminar is not your typical college course. We are addressing a broad range of topics to support your understanding of your learning community courses and expose you to college-specific expectations of engagement, responsibility, and respect for others. In this course, we will be having many discussions promoting the free-flow of ideas, and so there will be opportunities for disagreement (which is great and welcome!). So, we need to spend a bit of time talking about civil discourse.

But first, letís watch this movie clip

  • In what ways did the professor degrade Bobbyís perspective?
  • In what ways was Bobby not assisting a proper discussion?
  • How were Bobbyís classmates not receptive to his ideas?

Your classmates come from all types of backgrounds (education, hometown, family structures, culture, religion, political affiliation, etc.). When participating in discussion, it is essential that you show a high level of respect towards your classmates. You must find the balance between expressing your view and refraining from saying something hurtful that offends your classmates.


So letís spend some time talking about you believe should/should not be considered civil discourse and we will come up with a guideline for our discussions with which we all agree to abide.

  • Get into your groups - I've assigned them for you
  • Introduce yourselves
  • Designate a recorder to write down your group's ideas
  • Begin talking about what does and does not a good discussion make!
  • Construct a list of Do's and Do Not's - Each person needs to contribute at least one for each catergory

Hints: Here are some things to consider...

  • What makes us afraid to speak in public?
  • Why do most people fear honest evaluation and feedback?
  • What are some of the elements that promote a good discussion?
  • What types of behavior lead to a poor discussion?
  • What about cussing?
  • What is the best approach to disagreeing with someone?
  • How does body language factor into civil discourse?
  • How does the professor play in to all of this?