Bridging the Gap Skills Curriculum

A training curriculum for educators and facilitators focused on the bridgebuilding practices and skills that help people engage across deep divides.


Bridging the Gap (BTG) envisions a culture where our heroes are bridgebuilders. Since 2020, the program has worked on college campuses across the country to teach students and campus professionals to listen, understand, and seek common ground through community action with people who have fundamentally different beliefs than their own. The Bridging the Gap curriculum is a modular curriculum that trained facilitators can use to teach students or professionals the skills to engage productively across our deepest divides. The training curriculum is informed by educators and students who have gone through the Bridging the Gap experience and it is informed by relevant social psychology from scholars like Jonathan Haidt and research into how we best engage one another.

The curriculum is designed to be used by educators on college campuses in a synchronous, in-person setting with students as the learners. However, the outlines also encourage creativity and flexibility in the approach you use to achieve the learning outcomes. Educators should view these as roadmaps towards a destination and feel free to apply their own experience, judgement, and unique abilities when utilizing these in the classroom or training space. 

Although, as noted, these modules and activities were designed with college educators in mind, educators working with students and groups outside of college and universities are welcome and encouraged to use these materials as well. 

Module 1

Why Build Bridges?

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. 

Training Outline


Texts on the Shared Value of Bridge-Building​​

Your Ethic of Bridge Building Worksheet​

Module 2


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.

Training Outline


Listening Self-Assessment Worksheet

Module 3

Sharing Your Story

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.

Training Outline


Recognizing the Elements of a Strong Story Worksheet

Reverend Bailey’s Story Transcript

Your Ethic of Bridge Building Worksheet

Module 4

Engaging Tension Constructively

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.

Training Outline


Habits of Effective Bridge Builders

Four I’s Worksheet

Risk-Reward Assessment Worksheet

The Bridge-Builder’s Posture to Feedback

Tailored For You

Bridging the Gap Learning Activities

Lay It on the Line

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.

Picture Your Legacy

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.

Story Circles

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.

Bridging the Gap Skills Curriculum

New Modules

Two additional modules will be available in summer 2023, which will focus on how students can utilize their bridging skills to work together to address shared issues of concern in the community.

Contact Us

Reach out with any questions about the curriculum or how to use it on your campus.

Carr Harkrader

Program Consultant

Interfaith America