1. Say nothing (to start with) – Allow people to vent. Don’t interrupt and certainly don’t judge by saying things like, “Calm down,” or “You’re obviously mistaken here.”
2. Ask questions rather than try to make a point – This is easier said than done but try to ask questions that clarify the reasons behind the anger/upset or conflict – “Why is that upsetting you?” or “It strikes me that this is the problem. Have I heard you right?”
3. Recognise that you played a part here, and own it – Rather than talking about what the other person did/does/feels, talk about what you did/do/feel. Talking about the other person just makes them get even angrier.
In some ways, this reminds me of a post I wrote a few years ago on ‘ideals‘:
Although it is important to dream and dream big, at some point our efforts need to turn to finding pragmatic solutions for the now. They need to be ideas and initiatives that respond to the problem at hand. Instead of calling for a revolution, our attention should be on how we can evolve education one change at a time.
What I liked about your post is your comparison with blogging and Twitter. Personally, I find it a different experience to collect my thoughts on my own site (like this post), rather than just jump straight into Twitter. Although I can link this post to yours and webmentions will bring your responses back, I believe it is in the comments that a deeper discussion can be had. I find myself being much more reflective in not only taking the time to craft out my comment with various links, but I also feel more ownership and awareness of what I write and say.
In the end, we may not agree with each other on every matter, but we need spaces to carve out knowledge and understanding together. I think that this is the challenge of the #ProSocialWeb movement.
Coming from a Literature background, so often things are structured are power and persuasion. I feel if I had (or have) my time again how I might bring some more nuanced conversations in the classroom. I think that the Visible Learning routines can be helpful in developing this.
Perhaps nothing is more important than how we frame our questions, what’s up for debate and what isn’t