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About Us - In The Words of our Members

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Tips for Keeping Control of Difficult Conversations in Virtual Classrooms

While remote learning has presented educators with many challenges, one unique hurdle has been figuring out how to keep   control of student conversations on tough or timely topics. Virtual classrooms have made it much harder to maintain   respectful, engaged dialogue when students are not physically in the room together or abiding by typical in-person classroom   rules or norms.  To provide you with tools and strategies for keeping control of difficult conversations in virtual classrooms, we recently   partnered with Share My Lesson on a free webinar to provide tips. If you missed it, you can watch the full recording, access   our free videos and guides for teaching controversial issues, and explore the highlights below: Laying the Groundwork Teaching controversial issues should not occur "off the cuff". Successful discussions require preparation and the use of   thoughtfully selected teaching strategies. In the preparation process, you should clarify your goals for having these discussions and the skills you want students to gain. This can help you better communicate with families, administrators, and other stakeholders about your plans. And teaching strategies create structure and a procedure to follow, which will help you maintain effective classroom management. They also require the use of texts that ground students' arguments in facts.

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Post-Election Depolarization May Come from Surprising Places: An Initiative from Hollywood’s Captain America

Hollywood has long had a strongly liberal reputation. But as America looks to heal from a divisive election, opportunities for depolarization may come from surprising places, including Hollywood. A recent project spearheaded in part by Chris Evans, the star who plays Captain America, is seeking to reduce political division. Evans recently announced the founding of A Starting Point, a bipartisan civic engagement platform featuring a database of short videos. It kicked off in July of this year. In these videos, elected officials from all sides of the political spectrum explain their views on a variety of issues: from healthcare and the economy to social justice and foreign policy. The aim of the website is to “create a little more connectivity” between politicians and citizens. Evans strongly supports this effort while also publicly showing his support for Joe Biden. He said in a video on Twitter, “an engaged electorate will create a government [that] more accurately reflects who we are and what we need.”

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To My Fellow Americans, from a Humble Member of Braver Angels

We cannot know the future. But we do know where we are, and what we’ve endured; and it grows increasingly evident thatour times of great rancor, great anguish, and great malice will very likely only worsen after Election Day 2020. We will see rancor, anguish, and malice in each other; we will know it in ourselves. And all for good reason; for much is now at stake. Our communities and our principles, our rights and our heritage, the most vulnerable among us, our system of government and our trust in each other, all are threatened in this election as never before in our lifetimes. The rage, the fear, the hate we feel, arise for the best of reasons—out of love. Our love for our way of life, our love for the things and people we’ve held dear, and a noble desire to protect those things from all who would endanger them. And so, let us act in love on Election Day; let us argue and campaign and vote for what we love. But whatever the outcome of the election—whether our candidate or party loses or wins, whether there’s a long stalemate and uncertainty, or worse, whether we enter some uncharted constitutional crisis, should that come—whatever the election’s outcome, and regardless of its implications, and what rage and fear and hate they might inspire in us, let us continue to act in love. So let us pledge to act in love beyond Election Day. Let us act in love, onward to Inauguration Day, throughout the next presidential term, and onward into our country’s uncertain future.

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