An Educator's View






















Topic: Any topic with potential for controversy or differing family beliefs - hot button topics. 

Season to use: This process was first created to address the presidential election in Advisory but for your family it can be used for any controversial topic where you might have divergent responses. To use for any topic replace the italicized words. 

Process: Micro Lab Protocol Thinking Routine with Question Prompts 

Directions: The election was on our minds election week for both students and teachers. Our staff staff worked through how to give students the space and time to process their thoughts while modeling and facilitating intellectual virtue practice to support students' listening to each other and avoiding overwhelming emotions or name calling. In a few classes, the teachers processed using the thinking routine Micro Lab Protocol. This is a routine that allows students to process and listen together without being dependent on a teachers' comments or personal feelings. This routine develops intellectual autonomy and open-mindedness. 

  1. Check in: Think of a time when the family discussed something together in what you would call a productive way. What was that time and what did you like about it? OR What types of topics might be the most controversial for our family? What sort of intellectual virtues would be best to hold onto to protect our treatment of each other?
  2. Intellectual Exploration
    1. Select a guiding question for a Micro Lab Protocol
      • How are you impacted by the election?
      • How are politics a part of your life or your families' life?
    2. Once the question is selected set your timer for 2 or 3 minutes (everyone will get the same amount of time) and have one person start. That person will use the whole time to respond to the question in any way that they want. 
    3. After each individual respond require 10 seconds of silence before the next person begins. Reset the timer each time. It is important that there is no "cross-talk" or interruptions. 
    4. Process the protocol: What was it like to listen to each other in this way?
    5. Open Discussion: After every person has responded then you can open up the conversation for open discussion with some possible follow up questions:
      • What conversations have you heard during this election cycle that demonstrate good intellectual character?
      • What would a bad intellectual character look or sound like? What makes you say that?
  3. Reflect: What did you learn about each other through this process?