Getting Hot Without Getting Mad
Kids, Would You Please Start Fighting by Adam Grant
The New York Times, November 4, 2017
Adam Grant, the author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, advocates for adults to model and guide children in thoughtful, effective, and healthy disagreement. He fears that shielding a child’s exposure from or participation in argument will hinder his or her potential to be creative, get tough, and have empathy for those with a different perspective. Grant’s exemplars of historic partnerships in conflict are evidence for why children should learn the importance of knowing how “to get hot without getting mad.” Grant identifies certain guidelines that adults can implement when demonstrating productive disagreement, too. Although the article is aimed at parents, educators can follow Grant’s argument and foster teachable moments for students to observe and have meaningful arguments. Independent schools may have the flexibility to introduce productive disagreement in their curricular or co-curricular activities, whether it’s for a class, during an advisory, or as part of a club. If we can provide the right environment and structure for students to embrace debate, we will avoid its drama and unleash instead its positive effects on their development as imaginative, tenacious, and empathetic learners and collaborators.