Discussing Controversy Without BECOMING the Controversy

Practical Frameworks for Productive and Respectful Classroom Conversations

Students are often motivated most by issues of fairness and justice. But in a time when adults struggle to engage in civil discussion, how can educators ensure that they can discuss controversial topics in school without it going so sideways that they become the controversy?

This session gives educators practical tools, including:

1) Tips for helping students disagree without being disagreeable

2) Frameworks for productive group discussions

3) Tips for seamlessly integrating these strategies into standards-aligned instruction to avoid backlash, allegations of indoctrination, and other unintended consequences of making learning real for our students.

Presented by


Colin Seale

Colin Seale is an educator, attorney, and critical thinking evangelist. With degrees in law, public administration, and computer science, he has always had a passion for equity. His efforts to tackle educational inequity are particularly personal. Tracked early into gifted and talented programs in Brooklyn, Colin was afforded opportunities his neighborhood peers were not. And as a recovering underachiever, he is a living example of what happens when we decide it is not okay to leave genius on the table. In 2015, Colin founded thinkLaw (www.thinklaw.us), an award-winning organization that helps educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies to close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and REACH all students.