Pick up where you left off
Latest from the community
- Step Back & Step Up
- Assertions v. Assessments
- Make Meaning v. Demean Others
- Debate Ideas v. Debate People
- Being & Doing
- Disagreeing v. Being Disagreeable
- Curious v. Furious
- Who is Right v. What is Right?
- Beyond the Zero-Sum Game
- "I" Statements
Scholars in the field of education recommend that students apply the step-back step-up method during class discussions: participants who speak a lot are encouraged to step back while those who have not spoken are encouraged to step up and share their thoughts.
“An assertion is a fact. It belongs to the thing being observed and can be either true or false. It’s a statement that is measurable and can be verified by an objective third party.”
“An assessment, however, is a judgment and opinion. It belongs to the observer and in many ways may reveal more about the observer than they do about what’s being observed. No third party may prove an assessment true or false. An assessment can be either grounded or ungrounded. They are personal judgments made by different observers out of different standards, beliefs, moods and experiences. Many times assessments have to do with the future and impact it profoundly. Regardless if negative or positive, they influence interpretations and actions. Many people live their life as if an assessment (opinion) is an assertion (fact).”
Often debates rest upon the perceived notion that “I must be right all the time.” Sayings like, “If I’m not right then I won’t….” rest upon the idea that what’s more important is who is right. This is a false idea that can result in a lot of confusion and pain. In this class, we will be operating from the assumption that we are seeking to examine “what is right” and not to diminish that inquiry with the view that who we like (this person v that person) or affiliate with (this political party or that political party).
The purpose of ReligionAndPublicLife.org is to create a space where we can practice professional skills. We model for each other how to transcend zero-sum thinking, where one person’s win is another’s loss. This dualist, good/bad, wright/wrong thinking can lead us to create a competitive environment rather than a professional collegial setting in which we, as researchers, inquire about the nature of various social dilemmas.
We all make mistakes. We say things that were unmindful and can have a harmful impact, whether we were aware of it or not. We encourage members of ReligionAndPublicLife.org to communicate the term “ouch” when someone’s language may have had a negative impact on another. In doing so, we assume that we are mature enough to receive direct feedback, contain conflicts, process them, and learn from our mistakes. Our class is capable of holding one another in care when mistakes are made. Please be kind and generous with one another through this transformative process. We are all works in progress.