New Perspectives was designed in response to reports from teachers that their communities and classrooms feel divisive and polarized and that students (and adults) struggle to talk and listen to one another.
Deliberation teaches people how to discuss controversial issues by carefully considering multiple perspectives and searching for consensus. In preparation for deliberations, all participants read common, balanced background information on the issue. During the discourse, they offer arguments for each position on a contested public issue, first drawing from the text and then bringing in their own experiences.
Street Law can provide training for teachers in your school or district to become expert facilitators in deliberative discussion. Deliberations are suitable for all secondary grade levels and many content areas. Our interactive trainings will always include participation in a deliberation and opportunities for teachers to discuss and adapt the process. We can also add in sessions connecting the deliberative process to social and emotional learning, interdisciplinary effective practices, and/or initiatives from your school or district.
We can also provide training to support bringing deliberations to broader school communities. Community deliberations support civic engagement and foster public dialogue across differences.
2018-2019 Pilot Program
26 New Perspectives teacher fellows were selected from the Denver, CO, Washington, DC, and Omaha, NE, metropolitan areas to participate in the program's inaugural year. The fellowship aims to provide teachers with training to help people with different beliefs and backgrounds converse with one another about important issues in a civil and productive way.
The teacher fellows participated in a training institute with experts in the field. Upon returning home, the fellows organize and facilitate four deliberations for students; two of the four deliberations will include adult members of the wider community deliberating with and alongside students.