Conversation #2B: Political Values
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Suggested length: 45 minutes
RECOMMENDED GRADE LEVELS: 9-12 This conversation is about political values and how they influence our decision-making. Students will have already met their paired classroom using the “building relationships" conversation protocol. Since that conversation, they will have engaged in in-class discussions about political values that are relevant in the U.S. context, and will have discussed their ideas about those values. In this conversation, you will be reacquainted with your paired classroom and will draw on your in-class discussions about political values to explore the differences and commonalities among all participants.By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think about political values and their importance for discussing complicated policy issues.
Question Round 1: Reestablish connection
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Get reacquainted with students from your paired classroom. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- Does your family have any traditions? (ways of celebrating birthdays, holidays, family trips, jobs/careers that run in the family…)
- Does your school have any traditions? (pep rallies, sports rivalries, arts festivals, community service…)
- Does your town/neighborhood have any traditions? (parades, fairs, festivals, contests, day of service…)
- What would you say your family values? Your school? Your town?
Question Round 2: Listen and share to understand values
Suggested length: 25 minutes
Share your views and values—and listen openly to the views and values of others—without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each participant should answer each of the following questions:
- What does the term “political values” mean to you?
- What political values are important to you? Why?
- Consider the six political values you discussed in class:
- --> Equality
- --> Equity
- --> Liberty
- --> Security
- --> Public Good
- --> Private Interests
- Which is most important to you? Why? What does that value mean to you?
- Which is least important to you? Why is it less important?
- What are some values that are not included that are important to you?
- How do you think your values align with the values of your family? Your school? Your community?
- What values do you think are valued by Americans as a whole? Do these values change based on location, experience, culture, etc? What leads you to your conclusion?
- In what ways do these values make it easier to communicate about political issues? More challenging?
Question Round 3: Reflect and share takeaways
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Reflect on -- and share with other participants -- how it felt to join this conversation. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most valuable to you in this conversation.
- What new learning or appreciation do you have after joining this conversation?
- Have you found common ground that surprised you?
- What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
Before starting a conversation, all participants must agree to these conversation agreements.
1. Be Curious and Open to Learning.
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning. Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
2. Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences.
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on some beliefs and opinions.
3. Be Purposeful and to the Point.
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are making the same point more than once.
4. Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
5. Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others.
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be considerate to others who are doing the same.
6. Own and Guide the Conversation.
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.