Civility in our country’s political discourse has clearly declined, and the political climate has become increasingly bitter. We have all seen public meetings turn into violent shouting matches or worse. But what can be done? Is there a way to elevate the tone of dialogue in our country? Can we bring back civility?
This one and one-half day workshop will focus on how to moderate deliberative dialogues, one of many tools that we can use to bring citizens together to reason and talk and to deliberate about contentious public policy issues facing our society. We will introduce participants to the National Issues Forum (NIF) model, which provides a way for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of the problem and search for common ground for action. During this experienced-based training participants will be guided through the process of how issues are framed Forums are led by trained, neutral moderators and use an issue discussion guide that frames the issue by presenting the overall problem and then three or four broad approaches to it. In this workshop, we will guide participants through the process of how issues are framed for public deliberation, how to help organizations convene and organize such forums, and how to facilitate a deliberative dialogue. We will then engage in a real dialogue session on an important policy issue. Participants will be given the opportunity to act as moderators of the dialogue and receive feedback and coaching. We will focus on developing facilitation skills that can be used for dialogues and other forums participants might want to facilitate/moderate.
Total program is 12 hours which includes a full-day of instruction and a half-day which provides participants the opportunity to practice moderating deliberative dialogues.