Conversations should be courageous: why the compass matters

The+Courageous+Conversations+model+stresses+the+importance+of+speaking+one%E2%80%99s+truth+and+accepting+all+the+repercussions+that+might+occur+and+being+ready+to+be+in+the+wrong+or+ignorant.+Each+student+needs+to+seriously+consider+which+category+they+are+in%2C+not+to+finish+it+for+a+grade+but+themselves.

Mimi Huelster

The Courageous Conversations model stresses the importance of speaking one’s truth and accepting all the repercussions that might occur and being ready to be in the wrong or ignorant. Each student needs to seriously consider which category they are in, not to finish it for a grade but themselves.

Ivy Raya, RubicOnline

Courageous Conversations have become an essential part of classroom discussion. The compass, made up of four quadrants: emotional, intellectual, moral, and social, was developed with the goal to help people speak on essential topics regarding race. St. Paul Academy & Summit School introduced courageous conversations in middle school and has encouraged each student to talk about race with this mindset. The four sections represent how each person deals with race. Each group matches a word representing the thinking they use. For example, believing is matched with morals, feeling paired with emotions, doing with social, and intellectual with thinking. The conversations are a method students use that prepares them to anticipate and acknowledge the likeness of non-closure. There is not one single right answer. It also encourages people to be truthful about their opinions and not agree with everyone else’s ideas. The Courageous Conversations model stresses the importance of speaking one’s truth and accepting all the repercussions that might occur and being ready to be in the wrong or ignorant.

In upper school English class, first-year high school students participate in these conversations in Journeys in Literature. After their Harkness discussion, they fill out which quadrant they think they are in and why. Each student mostly writes they are in the thinking or feeling quadrant, which is the default. These options are the easiest to understand, and once students finish filling out the sheet, they stop thinking about the Courageous Conversation altogether. The believing and doing quadrants are left untouched. Each student needs to seriously consider which category they are in, not to finish it for a grade but for themselves. Students get lazy, which defeats the entire purpose of these discussions. Race is a prevalent and essential topic that helps acknowledge privilege and stresses the inequalities within society.

Without Courageous Conversations, people are very comfortable in the bubble of their own opinions and leave no room for growth”

Students need to be aware of their biases and recognize the stereotypes that society has slid into their heads. Without Courageous Conversations, people are very comfortable in the bubble of their own opinions and leave no room for growth. These discussions allow every individual with conflicting opinions to exchange ideas without the fear of getting ridiculed. We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being unsure about a topic leads to experiences that teach the individual a lot more about the issue discussed than staying quiet and not speaking. The intent of each person participating in these conversations is educating themselves and learning from their mistakes. It’s necessary to take risks in both inside and out of class classroom discussion and apologize promptly and sincerely if they offend another person. The discussion also leaves a job up to the other students participating in the conversation: to honestly hold peers and teachers accountable and actually paying attention to what they are saying. Society goes to extremes when a person has done something controversial and cancelled them before explaining themselves, which is not beneficial to either side. The general population is quick to assume the worst, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for learning from the mistakes of other people. When the person goes to explain themselves, it is already too late. Therefore, each student should be a little more thoughtful before criticizing a person’s opinion and take the chance to educate and communicate with them. Each Courageous Conversation progresses the understanding of other individuals’ challenges and connects the student body.