Reflecting on the Debates: A Strategy to Help Students Process

Karen Gross
2 min readOct 7, 2020

As we approach a VP debate tonight, it is worth preparing to compare this forthcoming debate with the previous debate. Regardless of one’s political position, students can compare and contrast the debates on a number of fronts: content; style; approach; tone; depth; demeanor; personal appeal; substantiveness of responses; capacity to listen; command of material and the like.

It is in this context that students can and should read this powerful and persuasive blog. It can be compared and contrasted with other opinion pieces on the first debate.

Here is another aspect of all this. We have reactions to things that are occurring in our world. We have feelings and thoughts that lead to behaviors. Unfortunately, we are often unable to name our feelings which makes it difficult to tame them. And, we often are better able to identify negative feelings as opposed to positive ones.

It is for these reasons that The Feeling Alphabet Activity can be such an important tool for educators to use with their students. It allows students at all ages and stages to identify their feelings and the theory is that if you can name your feelings, you can start to tame your feelings.

It is downloadable at and it is useful to reflect on the tools it provides. And, it is right-priced at $4.99!

It is my belief that the debates are educational — learning — opportunities. Consider this blog by Dr. Wang and The Feeling Alphabet Activity Set two tools to enable that to happen.

Let me know how it works. I’d welcome hearing student reactions to both the blog and the Alphabet.



Karen Gross

Author, Educator, Artist & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor