CPL Moderator Training Syllabus

CPL Moderator Training is a science-based training that teaches you to design, moderate, and participate in respectful and productive discussions on controversial topics. Past graduates  have applied these skills in various settings, such as workplaces, homes, schools, and churches, helping others treat one another with dignity and respect and keeping conversations civil and productive. Upon completion of the training, graduates hone their skills as moderators at Crossing Party Lines’ weekly conversations, which provide an opportunity for people to engage with others who have different views and experiences, and to challenge their own assumptions and biases.
  • 16 self-paced online lessons
  • Virtual class discussions
  • One-on-one meetings with the instructor
  • Virtual practice sessions.
Prerequisites: None, however CPL 100, 102, 102, and 103 are strongly recommended.
  • Create connection and rapport by humanizing the “others” in the room.
  • Reflect back, and when needed, reframe, challenging statements in a way that defuses animosity and makes it possible for others to hear them.
  • Ask questions that help people gain insight into why a person’s views make sense for them.
  • How to model and encourage skillful communication.
  • Manage domineering or disruptive participants to ensure conversations stay on track and all participants get a chance to hear and be heard.
  • Check your own views at the door and remain focused on the success of every participant, regardless of where they are coming from.
  • Adapt your skills and techniques to virtual, in person, or hybrid interactions.
Course Outline:
Week 1 Lesson 1 — Welcome! explores the theory and beliefs behind Crossing Party Lines.
Lesson 2 — The Meetup Experience presents at the experience we work so hard to provide to our members.
Lesson 3 — Facilitation Basics introduces basic facilitation skills.
Lesson 4 — Facilitation CPL-Style narrows our focus to the facilitation skills you’ll be using most as you facilitate a CPL meeting.
Week 2 Lesson 5 — The Power of Listening teaches you why we focus on listening more than talking.
Lesson 6 — Active Listening introduces the skill you’ll depend on most as a moderator, which is listening with the goal to understand.
Lesson 7 — Active Listening within the Context of CPL gives you examples of how and when to use active listening as a CPL moderator.
Lesson 8 — Theory and Science Behind CPL introduces you to some of the things science has taught us about political differences and relates these to experiences you may have at CPL meetings.
Week 3 Lesson 9 — Reframing teaches how you can help your members “own” their views by speaking from personal experience.
Lesson 10 — Crafting Questions introduces you to techniques for asking questions that invite members to share more deeply.
Lesson 11 — Disruption Management gives you the skills and confidence to step in before a discussion gets out of hand and deal with problems if they arise.
Lesson 12 — Facting explores CPL’s unique take on using facts in a political discussion.
Week 4 Lesson 13 — Making Meetups Happen explores the elements of the meeting itself and how each plays an important role in giving our members the experience they came for.
Lesson 14 — Preparing for the Topic teaches you how to prepare to run a discussion about the current topic. You will have a Topic Guide to take the stress out of it.
Lesson 15 — Celebrating Community and Success covers the important skill of anchoring the good work you do by calling attention to our members’ growth.
Lesson 16 — Moderator Self Care introduces some of the techniques and perspectives that other moderators use to energize themselves and keep an open, curious mind.
Required Texts:
  • Swallow, Lisa, Yes You CAN Talk Politics (2021)  [PDF provided at first day of class]

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    Learn to moderate conversations that cross differences through our 16-lesson online training.  This class is a mixture of self-paced lessons, virtual class discussions, one-on-one meetings with the instructor, and virtual practice sessions. Click here for Syllabus.

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    Our goal in offering this professionally designed training for free is to meet our ever-increasing demand for CPL services.  Because of this, we ask that every student moderate a minimum of 3 meetups upon completion of this course.