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The Discussion Book by Stephen Preskill, Stephen D. Brookfield

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Chapter 43

Canvassing for Common Ground

During discussions about highly controversial and contentious issues it's easy to lock into areas of disagreement. This activity focuses on identifying areas of agreement that can become the beginning points for more constructive exploration.

Purposes

  • To help people challenge their assumptions about those holding a contrary position (for example that opponents are uninformed, dumb, inhumane, unethical, etc.)
  • To practice perspective taking—seeing, however temporarily, the logic of another's viewpoint
  • To stop contentious discussions moving straight to one-sided advocacy of entrenched positions
  • To identify areas of agreement to keep contentious discussions going

How It Works

  • The facilitator states ...

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