A curriculum for educators and facilitators focused on the bridgebuilding practices and skills that help people engage across deep divides.
Bridging the Gap (BTG) is a program designed to support a culture where our heroes are bridgebuilders. Since 2020, when Simon Greer founded BTG and facilitated an innovative new course between students from different types of universities, BTG staff have worked on college campuses across the country to support students and campus professionals as they develop skills to listen, understand, seek common ground, and work with others across deep difference. Skills for Bridging the Gap is an off-the-shelf, modular curriculum informed by former Bridging the Gap participants, relevant social psychology, and Interfaith America’s twenty years of building interfaith bridges.
This curriculum is designed to be used by educators on college campuses in synchronous settings, with support provided for leading both in-person and virtual learning. College students are envisioned as the end learners. At the same time, this curriculum can easily be modified to meet educators’ particular needs and can certainly be used as the foundation for learning outside of higher education. Educators are invited to apply their own experience, judgement, and unique abilities when utilizing this curriculum in their classroom or training space.
This module introduces learners to bridge building and invites them to consider their own motivations for engaging in bridge building conversations across deep divides. Learners explore connections between bridge building and their worldview, including religious or non-religious values that may inspire their efforts.
In this module, learners practice the central skill of bridge building—listening. They explore the value of listening and the difference between typical listening and the deeper listening that bridge building requires. Learners practice five listening skills that enable effective bridge building and consider where they would like to grow as listeners. You can also view a version of this lesson in this video, facilitated by Bridging the Gap founder Simon Greer. Completing this module counts toward the Bridging Movement Alignment Council‘s “Listening” skill badge.
This module makes the case for storytelling as a powerful way to build bridges and introduces learners to simple techniques for sharing stories about themselves.
In this final module, participants grapple with how to handle difficult conversations. They learn to assess the risks and rewards of having or not having a challenging conversation, and they learn a helpful framework for having these difficult conversations.
This guide provides insight for educators who are designing and leading opportunities for their students to apply bridgebuilding skills. It explores three options for how to apply those skills—a policy focus, a relationship focus, and a community action focus—and offers suggestions and tips for how to implement them.
Tailored For You
This is a spectrum-type activity that helps students recognize the way that personal experiences inform individuals’ worldviews and how those worldviews can shift over time. We recommend using this activity after at least completing Modules 1-3.
This activity helps students connect their most important values to their life experiences, by helping them articulate a story weaving them together. We recommend using this activity after completing all four modules.
This activity encourages students to share their stories with each other in a group setting and look for commonalities among their diverse experiences. We recommend using this activity after completing all four modules.
Reach out with any questions about the curriculum or how to use it on your campus.