Two Teachers, a Lawyer and a Couple of Talk Show Hosts Walk Into a Bar, the Conversation Was...

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We invited the authors of three books written to teach us how to talk with people we disagree with on just about everything. Each shared with us their framework for navigating difficult discussions with difficult people in school, at work, and in life. This episode is the first in a series aimed and learning how to talk about those sensitive social, cultural, and civic issues we simply can’t ignore. This informed and candid discussion left us with a roadmap for the episodes ahead on everything from mask mandates, to transgender issues, race relations, growing incivility, and threats to our democracy.

Follow on Twitter: @BobLitan @Tania_Israel @bamradionetwork @jonharper70bd

Dr. Judith L. Pace is a Professor in the Teacher Education Department at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education. She is a qualitative researcher who examines classroom teaching and curriculum — focusing on social studies — and its relationship to diversity, democracy, and sociopolitical contexts. She has studied classroom authority relationships and academic engagement, teaching for democratic citizenship in government classes, social studies under high stakes accountability, and teacher preparation for teaching controversial issues. Her last study was conducted in Northern Ireland, England, and the Midwestern U.S., and she is fascinated by curriculum and teaching in politically divided and post-conflict societies.

Dr. Tania Israel is a Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Israel’s award-winning book, Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide, Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work (APA, 2020) grew out of the skill-building workshop that she developed and delivered to hundreds of participants following the 2016 election. It draws on her strengths as a psychologist and community collaborator to prepare people to engage in dialogue across political disagreement.

Dr. Robert Litan, is one of the few practicing lawyers in any field, with a Ph.D. in economics and an extensive research and career in economics. Litan has directed economic research at three leading national organizations: the Brookings Institution, the Kauffman Foundation and Bloomberg Government. Litan has held several appointed positions in the federal government. In 1993, he was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. In 1995, Litan was appointed Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he oversaw the budgets of five cabinet-level agencies. Litan is the founder of, a clearinghouse for teachers wanting information about how to incorporate debate into their classrooms, based on his book Resolved: Debate can Revolutionize Education and Help Save our Democracy (Brookings Press, 2020). During his research career, Litan has authored or co-authored 30 books and edited another 14 and authored or co-authored more than 250 articles in professional and popular publications on a wide range of legal and public matters.

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