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Suggested length: 45 minutes
What is free speech, why is it important, and when is it OK to limit free speech? With today's technology, it is easier than ever to practice free speech by connecting with our friends, blasting our thoughts and feelings out over social media, and posting the views of others. How can we best protect free speech? How do we know the difference between disagreeing, bullying, and hate speech? Also, should free speech guidelines be different for adults and kids? Why or why not? In this conversation, you and other participants will explore questions around free speech. By practicing the conversation agreements and sticking to the three-round structure, you’ll learn more about how you and your peers think about the importance of free speech and the responsibilities we all face around it.
Question Round 1: Get to know each other
Suggested length: 15 minutes
Get to know each other a bit by sharing something personal. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- How would you describe your town or city? (e.g. urban, rural, crowded, empty, big, small ...)
- How would you describe your school? (e.g. big, small, public, private, easy, fun, competitive, stressful ...)
- What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside of school?
- What do you want to do after you graduate?
- How would your best friends describe you?
Question Round 2: Listen and share to understand
Suggested length: 20 minutes
Share your views -- and listen openly to others' views -- on the assigned topic, without debating or trying to change anyone's opinion. Each participant should answer one or more of the following questions:
- What does “free speech” mean to you?
- Does free speech need to be protected more than it is today? Why or why not?
- Does free speech need to be limited more than it is today? Why or why not?
- Should people be allowed to say whatever they want? Why or why not?
- Should free speech guidelines be different for adults and kids? Why or why not?
- Should incorrect information be protected as free speech? Why or why not?
- Should online bullying be protected as free speech? Why or why not?
Question Round 3: Reflect and share takeaways
Suggested length: 10 minutes
Reflect on -- and share with others -- how it felt to join a Mismatch 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 appreciations do you have after joining this conversation?
- Have you found common ground or areas of interest 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.