Discussion as a Team Sport: Teaching Today’s Kids with a Skills-Based Approach

Discussion as a Team Sport: Teaching Today’s Kids with a Skills-Based Approach

Adults everywhere lament kids’ conversational skills (or lack thereof) – in schools, restaurants, around family dinner tables. The causes are debatable and myriad: blame iPads, TikTok, parents, politics, COVID – the list goes on!  Here’s what’s not up for debate: today’s students struggle to communicate…especially live, in-person, and across any kind of difference. As teachers…

Want to Teach Civil Discourse? Break it Down into Civility, Discourse, and Civics

Want to Teach Civil Discourse? Break it Down into Civility, Discourse, and Civics

As we head into 2024, “Civil Discourse” is a buzzword – and for good reason. The next Presidential election cycle looms large. Many campuses are still recovering from the hydra-headed ways politics ravaged their communities in 2020.  The most strategic school leaders I know are taking a proactive approach, asking: How can we use ’23-24…

Why Discussion Matters for Mattering: How to Teach Students the Power of Speaking & Listening

Why Discussion Matters for Mattering: How to Teach Students the Power of Speaking & Listening

For many teachers, class discussion is a chance to dive into content: to unearth new meaning in a text, debate the impact of a historical event, draw connections among ideas.  At R.E.A.L.® we believe all of those things are true – but in today’s world, class discussion serves an even more important purpose: it may…

Back to School with R.E.A.L.

Back to School with R.E.A.L.

Back-to-school season just might be our favorite time of year here at R.E.A.L.® Discussion. Why? We have spent the summer connecting a diverse group of educators across geographies, backgrounds, teaching styles, and career stages. Despite their differences, all share a commitment to teaching discussion skills to students growing up in a screenbound, polarized world.  R.E.A.L.®…

Reading, Writing…and Talking: What if America Had a National Conversation Skills Curriculum?

Reading, Writing…and Talking: What if America Had a National Conversation Skills Curriculum?

In what feels like a divided, screenbound world, here’s something I think most Americans would agree on: we need to re-learn how to talk (and listen) to each other. How can we do that? One step would be to make the instruction of conversation skills a national priority.  Why? Discussion skills are democracy skills. They…

How to Help Adolescents Navigate the “Digital Infinity”

How to Help Adolescents Navigate the “Digital Infinity”

Balancing life on and off “screen” is a defining project of what it means to be human in today’s tech-centric world. Questions abound: can you build fulfilling relationships fully on-screen? How “real” is your digital presence? How much do influencers influence your life? How do you appreciate the world in front of you when virtually…

Skills for “The Good Life”: Today’s Kids Don’t (Yet) Have Them

Skills for “The Good Life”: Today’s Kids Don’t (Yet) Have Them

I feel like I need to preface this post with a disclaimer (which I encourage students – especially girls – never to do). But here goes: I am an optimist. No one has ever accused me of not being idealistic enough, not seeing the sunny side, not hunting the good. I’d even say that I…

Our Why

Our Why

At R.E.A.L.® Discussion, we believe in the power of conversation to change a life and to change the world. That sounds dramatic, but it starts with science. We know that: >> Conversation is a uniquely human capacity. Monkeys and robots can communicate, but only humans can use conversation to interview grandpa, triage a patient, engage…