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2. Set

In this activity…

Students are familiarized with the term “rumble”, the six commitments that inherently accompany rumbling conversations, as well as specific rumble starters and questions.


Inform students that, this year, you will be using the phrase “Let’s rumble” to say, “Let’s have a real conversation, even if it’s tough”. To get students more excited about the idea of rumbling, and to give them a couple of minutes to get out of their seats and move around, play the ESPN song, The Jock Jam and allow students to dance along or “shake it off”. Once students are settled again, explain that when someone says
“Let’s rumble”, Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
it sets an intention and provides a behavioural cue for everyone to show up with open hearts and minds so that you “can have a productive conversation that strengthens relationships and the community, rather than just meeting [y]our own needs”. Tell students that a rumble is
a discussion, conversation, or meeting with a shared commitment to: Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.

  1. Leaning into vulnerability.
  2. Staying curious and generous.
  3. Sticking with the messy middle of problem identification and solving.
  4. Taking a break or time out if needed, and circle back when necessary.
  5. Being honest in owning our parts.
  6. Listening with the same passion with which we want to be heard.” (Brown, 2019)

Spend a couple of minutes unpacking each of these commitments, asking students to provide their insight, and clarifying any questions that they might have.

To engage students in a class discussion, consider asking any of the following questions:

  • When might it be necessary to rumble?
  • What’s different about a rumble compared to an everyday conversation that you might have with a friend?
  • Do you think that a rumble is a positive or negative event?
  • Which of the six commitments would be the most important for you to rumble effectively? Why?
  • Which of the six commitments would be the hardest for you to fulfill? Why?

Finally, provide students with a list of specific rumble starters and questions that they can use in difficult conversations. These starters will help students engage in challenging conversations and increase their ability to remain open-minded and curious. This list of rumble starters and questions was originally developed and shared by Brené Brown:

  1. The story I make up is… / The story I am telling myself is…
  2. I’m curious about…
  3. Tell me more.
  4. That’s not my experience (instead of “You’re wrong about her/him/them/this”).
  5. I’m wondering…
  6. Help me understand…
  7. Walk me through…
  8. We’re both dug in. Tell me about your passion for this.
  9. Tell me why this doesn’t fit/work for you.
  10. I’m working from these assumptions – what about you?
  11. What problem are we trying to solve?

The Rumble Starters handout for students is available in the downloads area of this page.

Wrap up with activity with a class discussion that encourages students to think about the following:

  • Rumbling requires a lot of skills, tools, and practice. What do you anticipate being the hardest part about rumbling? How can you prepare yourself to face this challenge?
  • If you notice that your conversation is not going well because any of the six rumbling commitments have been broken or because you are having a hard time being open-minded, what is something that you can say or do?
  • Do any of the rumble starters speak to you more than the others? If so, why?
  • How might you use specific rumble starters in different situations?
To ensure that students use these new rumbling skills for the right reasons,
Brené Brown Brown, B. (2019, August). Courage and Vulnerability Part II: Grounded Confidence and the Rumble. Brené Brown #daringclassrooms Hub.
encourages teachers to clarify that “the term rumble is not a lead-in for disrespectful conversations or comments, and it’s not permission to not listen”.