Effective Facilitation Styles to Moderate Online Discussions of Social Issues (Session 6A)
Main Topic: Online Learning and Technology
Session Type: Skill Share
The harsh notion of “political correctness” has risen in the past few years out of a need for cultural inclusivity and social sensitivity, but has unfortunately also stifled conversations and contributed to a sense of hyper-surveillance in everyday discourse. However, these difficult conversations navigating challenging topics have become increasingly important in the current global climate. In order to foster a productive conversation, there must be a good balance between a review of fundamental knowledge and a discussion that acknowledges a diverse range of opinions. However, the pandemic has made opportunities to meet people and converse in open dialogue difficult to find. toriaezu., which translates to “just for now,” is an online platform with the motto “let’s just talk about it.” Here, participants can learn about global social issues, and share their thoughts and feelings with others during discussions. The events aim to allow participants to reach their own individual opinions or conclusions by the end in addition to more interest in the main topic.
Based on our experiences facilitating online events, the presenters will offer insights and takeaways to overcome different barriers such as gaps in language, age, and prior knowledge in online educational opportunities. The examples used are from a specific event introducing notions surrounding gender that may be perceived as non-conventional by some.
- Learn different models of online conversations (each with distinct limitations and challenges) and how to best navigate an effective discussion about social matters
- Recognize the importance of knowledge in the topic in cross-generational, inter-cultural conversations on global issues
Keywords: online discussions, discussion facilitation, cross-generational discussions
Ms. Rika TakahashiMcGill University - Undergraduate student; toriaezu. - Co-founder
McGill University, toriaezu.
Rika Takahashi is an undergraduate student of McGill University. She is a co-founder of toriaezu., a non-profit organization which offers an online discussion platform in Japanese for learning and discussing challenging topics addressed in the current global climate. She has been involved in developing an online curriculum and instructing a STEM workshop for the middle and high schoolers in Japan with SKY Labo, a non-profit organization in Japan which seeks to equip them with a new mindset for learning.
Ms. Risako YangColgate University - Innovation Fellow; toriaezu. - Co-founder
Colgate University, toriaezu.
Risako Yang is a current student and an Innovation Fellow at Colgate University studying English literature and biology. She is also a student representative chosen as a member of the University’s Task Force for Remote Learning. Outside of school, she has worked with SKY Labo since 2017 as a program designer. Recently, she co-founded toriaezu., a non-profit organization aimed at creating an online platform in which Japanese-speakers across ages, interests, and backgrounds can come together to learn and discuss upcoming challenges that our global society faces.