Below is a set of ground rules specific to discussions held in class and online. These are important to remember so that every member of the classroom feels respected and safe when discussing topics that are sometimes personal and powerful.
- Listen actively — respect others when they are talking.
- Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (“I” instead of “they,” “we,” and “you”).
- Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks — focus on ideas.
- Participate to the fullest of your ability — community growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice.
- Instead of invalidating somebody else’s story with your own spin on her or his experience, share your own story and experience.
- The goal is not to agree — it is to gain a deeper understanding.
- Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses — they can be as disrespectful as words.
YOUR TASK: It is now your job to create any additional class ground rules you may feel necessary. You may also use this opportunity to ask a question about any particular policy and stimulate conversation among your classmates. If you chose not to add a rule, please be sure to elaborate on one of the rules presented above. You are encouraged to reply to other’s suggestions about these guidelines for meaningful discussion among one another.