Discuss and Deliberate

Discuss and Deliberate

The powerful practices are how we build student engagement in community and in learning, through research-based culturally responsive practices in classrooms and schools.


All school stakeholders (administrators, teachers, students, parents, and partners):

  1. engage courageously and productively in conversations about topics of interest to students and difficult, controversial, or controversialized topics
  2. work towards shared understanding or consensus while also maintaining a commitment to uphold the humanity and dignity of those we serve
  3. seek to understand voices and perspectives that are different and recognize diversity of ideas as a strength
  4. listen to, deeply consider, and seek to understand others perspectives, especially those in which we disagree

Classroom Indicators


  • make time and space with peers and adults to discuss and consider topics and issues that are important to them and their community.
  • practice active listening and questioning to deepen their understanding, and seeks out various perspectives before drawing conclusions
  • say their voice is valued. They are invited and prepared to share their perspective and experiences
  • understand knowledge, critical thinking, and reliable sources about the topic are essential to effective discussion
  • participate in and contribute to a classroom environment where discussion is productive and meaningful
  • know how to affirm and acknowledge emotions that sometimes surface when we discuss difficult or controversial topics


  • include regular opportunities for students to think critically and weigh evidence through discussion and deliberation of difficult and controversial topics related to class content.
  • can co-create discussion agreements with students that are reflected and expanded upon throughout the year.
  • thoughtful about discussion protocols and practices used to deepen students’ learning about the content
  • I make space to discuss relevant issues with other teachers, admin, and students regularly
  • deeply consider and seek to understand varied perspectives and experiences, especially those that are different or in disagreement

Schoolwide Culture and Leadership Indicators

School leaders and School leadership teams Departments ILT’s, LSC’s, SVC’s, etc (Youth, Adult, Intergenerational)

  • Participate in and encourage the school community to discuss and deliberate difficult and controversial topics
  • acknowledge that discourse involves essential skills that take time and practice to develop, and work to normalize discourse in all collaborative spaces
  • ensure teachers have the proper supports (physical, emotional, intellectual, pedagogical) to engage in courageous and productive discussion and deliberation.
  • emphasize discussion and deliberation as powerful pedagogical practices that should be happening as a key component of the curriculum across grade levels and content areas.
  • listen to, deeply consider, and seek to understand students’, faculty/staff, families’, and community members’ lived experiences and varying perspectives. especially those that are different or in disagreement

Discuss and Deliberate in Action