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10-15 minutes






To develop skills to organize an argument, share your point of view, consider various opinions and negotiate

  • Select a topic to be discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. This topic can be silly, such as, you need to order a pizza where the toppings will suit everyone.
  • Divide the class into two groups.
  • Allow each group one to two minutes to identify some arguments.
  • One group goes first and shares their points for one minute, followed by the second group shares their ideas.
  • The following task is to ask both groups to come together and find a solution that is perceived as a win-win for both teams.
  • In the small group discussions and whole class debate, have students consider the facts, the different opinions and potential compromises.
  • In addition, consider the way you engage in discussion with others. Are you being respectful or disrespectful? Have you ensured that you stayed focused on the issue and not attacked the person?
  • Incorporate the idea of the dignity of each person as necessary in solving conflict and resolving problems.
  • Ensure that  students who are racialized or marginalized continue to have an amplified voice when the dominate views are the majority.

Complementary practice: Active constructive listening (Healthy relationship skills)

Adolescents learn important skills during negotiations like: understanding the facts about theirs and others’ beliefs on a particular issue, how to explain the rationale behind their decision making, and how to maintain relationships once a conflict or disagreement is over (Kidder, 2017). When given explicit instructions to do so, students are capable of compromise, which is an important life-skill when settling differences of opinion during everyday interactions (Stein & Albro, 2001). Students whose social problem-solving skills are inadequate for their circumstances  [added by SMH-ON: such as systemic racism and structural oppression] are more likely to be impacted by stress and negative experiences, increasing the possibility of them experiencing depression (Ozdemir et al., 2013). The development of strong social problem-solving skills will support students in managing the risks of aggression, depression, and stress (Ozdemir et al., 2013). Ultimately, learning to understand and appreciate others’ points of view helps to facilitate solutions during arguments, and foster social relationships over the long-term (Stein & Albro, 2001; Kidder, 2017).

Kidder, D. L. (2017). BABO Negotiating: Enhancing Students’ Perspective‐Taking Skills. Negotiation Journal, 33(3), 255-267.

Özdemir, Y., Kuzucu, Y., & Koruklu, N. (2013). Social problem solving and aggression: The role of depression. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, 23(1), 72-81.

Stein, N. L., & Albro, E. R. (2001). The origins and nature of arguments: Studies in conflict understanding, emotion, and negotiation. Discourse Processes, 32(2-3), 113-133. http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/S15326950DP3202&3_02