How is it going with the conversation starters? If you are facing an uphill battle, consider making the timing and framework of the discussion routine. Then, remind students that, for example, “Every Tuesday the class period begins with conversation starters with your shoulder partner.” When students know when they are going to be asked personal questions that require creativity – things still foreign to them! – they will be less likely to bristle. Keep trudging!
For the next two weeks we are going to focus the conversation on super powers.
This week, let’s discuss:
“What superpower would you like to have to serve yourself?”
Objective: Sometimes it’s difficult to come right out and say that you wish things were different. By asking students about superpowers they long for (and, probably, figure they could never actually have), you can help them gain insight into what in their life they wish to change – or make go away. This is a delicate subject but can be very enlightening.
Feel your students out – is this a stressful week? Maybe keep the conversation light and suggest they might wish for a superpower that exempts them from taking unit tests. If the class is clicking and enjoying talking about themselves and their feelings, model an answer that shows your own vulnerability. For example, “I get frustrated when I am running late and sometimes I snap at my daughter, I wish I had a superpower that kept me from getting frustrated by stupid things.”
Showing your students that you have imperfections and vulnerability will make them feel safer and more willing to risk being vulnerable, too.
Keep the conversation focused on powers they want to serve themselves. Next week we’ll talk about others.
Let me know what they come up with!