Upcoming Teaching Workshop: Difficult Dialogues (March 23)
Time & Date: 4:10—5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 23
Location: CFT Workshop Space, Center for Teaching
Facilitators: Leanna Fuller, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT; John Morrell, Graduate Teaching Fellow, CFT; & Kat Baker, Assistant Director, CFT
Audience: Faculty, Graduate and Professional Students, and Post-docs
Many faculty seek to equip their students with the skills to engage in reasoned debate on controversial topics, such as issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics, social justice and so forth. However, these topics can be emotionally-charged so it is very challenging to foster a classroom environment safe enough that students feel comfortable engaging in discussion, yet risky enough to challenge them to explore new perspectives. Dialogues about difficult issues that are not managed effectively can leave students feeling threatened and faculty feeling out of control, and prevent rather than promote learning. This workshop will introduce strategies for facilitating open and critical discussions of controversial topics. As we explore these strategies, we will ask questions about the purpose of such strategies: What learning goals underlie controversial conversations in the classroom? How to promote communication skills that lead to civil discourse? Are we trying to promote passion or dispassion? How do certain topics frustrate rather than foster civility? Please join us and share your questions and experiences with difficult dialogues.