Grade 12

We Are Civil Communicators

How can we communicate with civility online?

When we talk about our personal beliefs and politics, passions can run high -- especially when we're online. These intense moments can often lead to tit-for-tat insults, or worse. But, if addressed calmly and coolly, they can be an opportunity to find common ground and deeper understanding. Teach students to keep disagreements civil so their ideas will be heard and so they can advocate for positive change.

Students will be able to:
  • Define civil discourse and identify why it can be challenging on the internet.
  • Analyze resources to identify the causes and effects of uncivil online discourse.
  • Learn strategies for civil discourse and apply them to a scenario involving uncivil discourse.
Key Vocabulary: civil discourse  ·  trolling
civil discourse:
conversation that involves respectful sharing and debate of ideas
trolling:
online behavior that is meant to offend or stir up drama between individuals or groups
Relationships & Communication
This lesson meets standards for CASELAASLand ISTESee standards
Don’t have time for a full lesson?
15 mins.
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Lesson Plan

55 mins.
Extension Activity:

Get approval and have students participate in a debate using the website Kialo. Kialo is a debate website, which requires sign-up and collects information about all users. You can review Kialo's privacy policy here

Once you've signed up for Kialo, you can create a private discussion for your students to participate in. For help creating a discussion and using the site generally, check out their Help Center

You will need to specify a debate question for your discussion. We recommend using a question related to the previous activity in this lesson, such as:

  • Is it possible to change someone's mind in an online discussion? If so, how? If not,  why not?

  • Even if you aren't able to persuade the other person of your argument, is still important to be civil? Why or why not?

Alternatively, you can use a debate question related to a topic you've previously explored in class or use an existing public discussion from Kialo. Please note that although Kialo is well-monitored and devoid of inappropriate content, if you use a public discussion, you will not be able to control the content that students see.

What You'll Need

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Classroom resources

  • Lesson Slides
  • Student Handout: Disconnected Discourse Student Version Teacher Version
  • Lesson Quiz Google Classroom

Take-home resources