A touchstone is ancient tool used to determine the contents of rare minerals. It is also an idea or concept that sparks thinking and reflection. It is something against which we can compare our ideas and opinions.
In Touchstones programs, the touchstones include the ideas and experiences of the participants, the discussion process itself, self-reflection and group evaluation, and the ideas raised in the short primary-source texts embedded in each lesson. Texts in Touchstones represent many genres, cultures, and traditions. They are selected specifically for how they support participant skill development in discussion participation, cooperation, active listening, and shared leadership.
Touchstones’ work in education is foundational for a future where our vision of an inclusive, community-centered world is realized.