Deliberative emotional talk

  • Benzi SlakmonEmail author
  • Baruch B. Schwarz


High-quality talk about issues that raise high-intensity emotions in the public sphere is timely needed. Still, researchers committed to the fostering of high-quality types of school talk generally disregard the role of emotions. We show that this disregard is not accidental and that it conveys a customary reluctance in schools to consider the handling of emotions as they pertain to cognition. We argue that helping students regulate emotions in social interactions and in discussions that raise high-intensity emotions is an important educational purpose, and we show that discussions about controversial issues provide a suitable context for this purpose. To support the emergence of high-quality talk that involves strong emotions, we adopted a design-based research approach and developed a new Computer-supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) tool, the Hot Discussions Platform (HDP). The functionalities of HDP are crucial for the emergence and guidance of high-quality talk that involves strong emotions, and they describe a novel professional development (PD) approach to the enhancement and moderation of this kind of talk. In the in-service PD course, teachers are prepared to design, moderate, and analyze discussions about controversial issues. Group assignments in the course and personal interviews revealed that the teachers that underwent this program reported on a very rich list of practices and beliefs about the emotional labor involved in designing and moderating discussions about controversial issues. The study provides an existence proof of a kind of talk that combines compliance with argumentative-critical standards and an eagerness to express and regulate strong emotions. We call this general kind of talk deliberative emotional talk. We conclude by reflecting on future research and technological developments to be invested into studying forms of deliberative emotional talk and support its emergence.


Emotions CSCL Deliberation Dialogue 



The authors would like to thank Carolyn P. Rose, Kobi Gal, Adam Lefstein, Gidi Dishon, Efrat Firer, Avi Segal, Michael Sronim, Gal Benedek, Barak Menachem, and Noa Shapira for their invaluable support in developing the project. The authors would also like to deeply thank the anonymous reviewers. Your contributions and sensitive reading helped us refine our ideas and improve the manuscript.


This study was partially supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 26992017) and the NSF (grant no. 033909).


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© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.School of EducationThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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