Creative Teaching & Learning

Three Ways to Improve Our Disagreements

Resolving subjective differences can be challenging, but being able to think deeply about complex issues and communicate why we think a certain way is an important skill for students to develop. Steven Campbell-Harris shares some approaches to move beyond intuitive responses to difficult questions.

‘New York is the capital of America.’ I was on my way to school when I heard a boy arguing up ahead. He turned to the rest of the group and intoned with authority. I edged closer. Most of the others were in agreement, chiming in with ‘yes, of course, it’s New York.’ One boy, however, insisted that they were wrong. ‘Washington DC is the capital’, he said. I listened for a while before intervening. ‘Actually, Washington DC is the capital city of America.’ At that moment, the debate was over. An authority figure had settled it. Nothing left to discuss. They walked on momentarily in silence.

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