fbpx
Classful Classful Shop

In today’s heated times, learning how to disagree politely with the viewpoint of another has never been more important.

The respectful disagreement involves engaging with those who hold differing opinions from us, as opposed to outright dismissing them – or even worse – fanning the flames of anger or fear by being flippant or derogatory.

While it might seem like an easy lesson, the reality is often completely different. Respectfully disagreeing with each other, even as adults, isn’t easy – particularly when it comes to issues that we’re passionate about. To disagree respectfully, students need to develop the following skills:

  • Patience
  • Self-criticism
  • Creativity
  • Introspection

What follows is a series of tips on how to teach your students how to disagree with one another without hurting each other’s feelings or making one another feel belittled. It’s a fantastic concept to teach and one that students love to engage in. When done correctly, it helps to foster a stimulating and intellectually expansive classroom environment.

Education resources

View all
Action Verbs Practice - 3 Halloween themed Worksheets - Grades 2-3

Action Verbs Practice - 3 Halloween themed Worksheets - Grades 2-3

$2.50
Ocean Themed Restroom Reminders Poster

Ocean Themed Restroom Reminders Poster

$1.25
Retro Classroom Decor Boho Printable Posters

Retro Classroom Decor Boho Printable Posters

$4.00
Works of Mercy Posters in Color and Black & White

Works of Mercy Posters in Color and Black & White

$4.50
I am Bright Sun Craft | Growth Mindset | SEL | Summer Craft | End of Year Craft

I am Bright Sun Craft | Growth Mindset | SEL | Summer Craft | End of Year Craft

$3.00
Back to School Dot Dauber Set

Back to School Dot Dauber Set

$3.25
Animal Color by Letter Recognition Color by Code Editable

Animal Color by Letter Recognition Color by Code Editable

$3.75
IRA SAYS GOODBYE READING & ACTIVITIES UNIT

IRA SAYS GOODBYE READING & ACTIVITIES UNIT

$4.50
The Land Of Looming Linking Verb Labyrinths

The Land Of Looming Linking Verb Labyrinths

$3.50

1. Avoid logical fallacies

Social media makes it easy to find examples of logical fallacies, such as ad hominem attacks (baselessly attacking your opponent’s character without debating their actual point) or red herrings (information that is intended to be distracting or misleading to help bolster an argument). A great starting point is to use a lesson plan like this to teach the basics of logical fallacies within the advertising industry. This particular lesson has been designed for 9-12th grade students, but with a little creativity, it can be adapted for middle schoolers.

2. Highlight the importance of reliable sources

Did you know that a study by Stanford University revealed a somewhat disturbing statistic that four out of five secondary-level students could not distinguish between sponsored advertising content and real news? This study highlights the importance of media literacy among students. If this isn’t already a part of your curriculum, you may find it useful.

3. Set an example for your students

How do you respond when a student challenges or even corrects you? Think about your verbal and non-verbal cues. Let’s say, for example, a student volunteers to make copies for you, and they forgot that you asked for them to be printed double-sided. Your students notice you all the time, and whether you smile and respond constructively or become dismissive and roll your eyes will speak volumes regarding how you handle conflict with others.

It’s also important to acknowledge your shortcomings. If you made the error and neglected to ask for double-sided printing, be certain to apologize and highlight where you went wrong.

4. Provide your students with creative words to use during disagreements

The actual language used to facilitate respectful disagreement is of paramount importance. Why not create a list of sentence examples for students to try and use while practicing disagreement? Here are some quick examples:

  • “I’d like to understand things from your perspective – can you explain how you’ve arrived at this conclusion?”
  • “I disagree with what you said but would like to know more about your opinion.”
  • “I can see that you’re passionate about this issue. How did you arrive at such a viewpoint?”
  • “Would it be possible to tell you more about what I think and feel about this?”

A great way to encourage friendly, the non-politicized debate is to get your students to discuss which pizza toppings are the best. It can be fun to hear people arguing about the merits of pineapple on pizza (this is always a contentious topic) or whether green or black olives are the best.

5. Teach your students to empathize

Half the battle of teaching respectful disagreement is to instill a sense of empathy in your students so that they learn the importance of seeking out reasons why others think differently. By empathizing with one another, students learn that they will always find some form of common ground or bond, even though they may disagree. This promotes tolerance and is arguably one of the most important lessons young people will learn. When delivered creatively and understandably, respectful disagreement is the lesson that helps foster community coherence – both now and in the future.