Transforming Conflict in the Classroom: Best Practices for Facilitating Difficult Dialogues and Creating an Inclusive Communication Climate

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Since discussions can improve students' ability to evaluate the logic of positions that they and others hold1, classroom discussions develop students' self-awareness and appreciation of diverse perspectives.2 Other benefits of discussions that are controversial in nature include "higher achievement and better retention, more frequent use of higher-level reasoning, metacognitive thought, and critical thinking, more continuing motivation to achieve and learn, and greater accuracy in interpersonal perspective taking."3 Moreover, engaging in classroom discussions can be thought-provoking, exciting, and transformative. One of the challenges in facilitating classroom discussions is creating a communication climate that avoids destructive conflict, allows multiple voices to be heard, and fosters dialogue.

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