Take an E-Course
Skills for Bridging the Divide
This course will teach you how to communicate better with people who differ from you politically. There are two course options, one for "reds" and one for "blues." By "red," we mean someone who leans conservative or tends to vote for Republicans. By "blue," we mean someone who leans liberal or tends to vote for Democrats. You are also welcome to take both courses if you like. The skills are the same but the examples are different. If you are an “other” who does not lead red or blue, please choose a side for the sake of practice.
Begin Red e-CourseBegin Blue e-Course
The Depolarizing Within Online Course is designed to foster skills to help you lessen the effects of polarization when you encounter them in your political conversations. Note that by "polarization," we are not referring to healthy disagreements over issues or philosophy. We are talking about how we regard and talk about large groups of ordinary people on the other side of the political aisle.
Take this workshop if you are interested in:
1. Becoming more aware of your own inner polarizer and finding ways to counteract that impulse.
2. Learning how to be critical without stereotyping, dismissing, ridiculing, or showing contempt.
3. Building skills for intervening in a constructive way in social conversations that veer into contempt and ridicule for people who hold other political views.
Families and Politics
The goals of this course are:
1. A deeper understanding of why family differences over politics are uniquely challenging.
2. Insight into the common roles that family members play when political conversations go badly.
3. Strategies and skills for dealing with family political differences in a constructive way.
Skills for Social Media
This course will teach you the knowledge and skills to avoid contributing to polarization on social media. It will also help you identify difficult situations and help you decide what strategy to use to either participate or disengage from them. You will learn tools to depolarize yourself and engage more constructively with those you disagree with on social media. It does not address the general climate or influence of social media in our country; it is only intended to influence the online behavior of people who take the course. The posts shared here are based on actual posts found on social media, and edited for instructional purposes.
Managing Difficult Conversations
Elected officials have always dealt with constituents and colleagues who disagree and sometimes become disagreeable. But with polarization and incivility rising everywhere, new skills are required for public leaders who want to survive in their job, enjoy it, and make a difference for their community. This workshop will equip you with practical tools you can use immediately when a constituent or colleague (of whatever political party) tells you how wrong you are and how you should change course. These skills can lower stress that comes from having difficult political conversations and help you feel more satisfied and more confident in your role as an elected official. At best, you will soften critics and find more common ground. Or at least you won't add fuel to today’s epidemic of incivility.
We recommend using a desktop or laptop to view this course.