I just found this video on TedTalk, and it makes a good case for how to research before attempting to change someone’s mind. This video also includes a lesson plan. I’m sharing it here:
Additional Resources for you to Explore
For centuries, philosophers have debated how arguments work and why some are more effective than others. This TED-Ed lesson introduces Aristotle’s view on the topic. In the twentieth century, the two most influential argumentation scholars have been Chaïm Perelman and Stephen Toulmin, who created the influential Toulmin model of argumentation—which you can find explained in this video.
In parallel to these philosophical works, the twentieth century saw psychologists tackle empirically the question of which arguments work, when, and for whom. One of the most popular theories suggests that our response to arguments is deeply influenced by our motivation, so that we’re mostly able to discriminate between strong and weak arguments when the conclusion matters to us. More recently, Dan Sperber and the educator have integrated work on reasoning, social psychology, and argumentation to develop the argumentative theory of reasoning, according to which the main functions of human reason are social: to exchange justifications and arguments with others. Click here to learn more.
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”
The story is best in Headlee’s words, so here it is:
“I grew up with a very famous grandfather, and there was kind of a ritual in my home.
“People would come over to talk to my grandparents and after they would leave, my mother would come over to us and she would say, ‘Do you know who that was? She was the runner-up to Miss America! He was the mayor of Sacramento! She won the Pultizer Prize! He’s a Russian ballet dancer!’
“And I kind of grew up assuming everyone has some hidden amazing thing about them. And honestly I think it’s what makes me a better host.
“I keep my mouth shut as often as I possibly can. I keep my mind open and I’m always prepared to be amazed. And I’m never disappointed.”
Headlee’s grandfather, by the way, was William Grant Still , and he was the first black conductor to conduct a professional symphony orchestra in the United States.