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FAIR at School - High School Club Program

Are you interested in discussing varied and differing perspectives on contemporary cultural and political topics in an atmosphere of mutual respect, sincerity, and openness? Do you want to learn more about how different minds perceive and understand the world? If so, FAIR at School is the place for you.

The primary focus of the club is to understand other minds and other ways of thinking. You will have opportunities to offer your thoughts on the merits of different perspectives and arguments, but we will start by exploring and understanding different writers and thinkers on complex current topics. We will fully engage with and understand other people’s ideas before we judge their merits. After all, wouldn’t you want others to understand your point of view before judging it?

Our club will follow these guiding questions: How do diverse individuals explore and understand complicated issues? How can we as students work together to deepen our understanding, enrich our knowledge, and sharpen our analytical skills?

If you are interested in having this club at your school, please contact us.

What will we do in this club?

Point-Counterpoint Research and Discussion
This activity will emphasize intellectual empathy and weighing someone’s claims as a way of inquiry.  The pursuit of both knowledge and mutual understanding is a human undertaking that should unite us in our education.  When someone proposes this or that as true or persuasive, we should always ask, “What would I need to know to judge that claim honestly?” Seeking understanding of the world and of each other is a way of being truly human.
 
  • Students will choose topics to explore as a group. Approximately each month, the group will explore one topic–such as police reform, immigration, education, and so on–using a collection of diverse sources carefully selected by FAIR to offer a variety of perspectives. Students will have a chance to dig deeper into the sources, do independent research, and polish their public speaking while presenting the ideas of others.

  • Over the course of the year, students will prepare and present articles with which they agree and disagree, with the focus being understanding the ideas and arguments of different authors.
Civil Discourse Panel Discussion(s)
  • Learning how to engage in academic discussion while displaying civility and kindheartedness; learning by example how, when speaking to those with differing values, to weigh honestly the claims of those with whom you might disagree; engaging with complex arguments from thinkers on serious but different sides of important debates


  • Students will be able to watch and participate in moderated panel discussions that bring together individuals who disagree about contemporary issues but who do so in an atmosphere of mutual respect and common humanity.


  • FAIR can assist in the identification and quality assurance of speakers across a broad spectrum of opinion. Speakers could be local (if an in-person event) or far-flung (if a webinar format). Students will develop the basic questions that guide the conversation and will participate in the later Q&A session. FAIR can also assist with tech support for webinars.

 

One-On-One “Reach Across the Aisle” Interview Activities
  • Students will reach out to fellow-students or family members with whom they disagree and interview that person. They will ask questions and take notes in an effort to more deeply understand their position(s) on an issue(s) over which they disagree. Students will try to explain the person’s points of view to the very person they interviewed, to try to make sure that they understood what that person was truly saying (don’t you wish that everyone did that for you?).  Students will discuss their interviews at club meetings.

Student Club Leadership Opportunities

President – Primary liaison with FAIR, communicating with FAIR’s program director(s) about materials, activities, progress and needs; leads/co-leads club meetings; schoolwide ambassador for the club

 

Regional Club Coordinator – Coordinate events that require the participation of multiple chapters, inform student clubs of volunteering opportunities at FAIR events

Vice President – Assists the club president, sharing responsibility for the duties listed above





National FAIR @ School Representative – Represents school at national FAIR @ School events

Recruiting Director – Responsible for outreach and promotional efforts within the school community 

Meet Daniel Idfresne, club President at Brooklyn Technical High School and FAIR’s first National Representative for the FAIR at School High School Club program. If you would like to learn more about club leadership, contact Daniel at daniel.idfresne@fairforall.org