Can We Talk?
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Can We Talk?

Can We Talk? is a program of experiential learning that has been featured in the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Chronicle of HIgher Education. It introduces students (and adults) to skills and habits that promote productive dialogue across differences.  It tries to counter the political polarization and student anxiety that plague our nation.

We don't shy away from tough political conversations. Instead, we frame them for reflective engagement. We provide skilled moderators, resources, and prompts.

The program, run by the Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement, has worked with over 900 students in 40 colleges and universities around the Commonwealth and the rest of the U.S. In evaluations, students give Can We Talk? an average score of 8.7 out of 10 for being "valuable" and 9 out of 10 for whether they'd recommend it to a friend.

We are looking for teachers to pilot a high school program in Pennsylvania. Is your class interested? Connect with PPCE co-director Chris Satullo at

A Roadmap for Successful Conversations
These assets help generate productive dialogue in your classes and communities. Keep scrolling for a full package of lessons and activities for students.
Ice Breakers
We always begin a Can We Talk? dialogue with an ice breaker. During a CWT? event, participants will discuss issues that can prove contested and emotional. You need to warm up the dialogue muscle before diving into the harder work.
Ground rules for productive dialogue
For civic dialogue to thrive, students should agree to a set of ground rules that will guide everyone’s behavior during the dialogue.
Discussion prompts for students
Before each CWT? forum, we work with students to identify topics on their minds. Then we shape discussion prompts to frame the issue in a neutral way and makes clear young people's stake in them.
Lessons and Activities
We have eight lesson plans for exercises that range from 15 to 40 minutes in length. Lesson plans can be used in sequence or free standing. You can use these in a classroom or afterschool activity. They are designed to practice the skills necessary for a students to develop the ability to have productive dialogue with people from different backgrounds.

A Note to Parents

We want to make sure parents are fully aware of what their students are learning through Can We Talk? Here's our open letter explaining more about the program. Contact us with any questions!