Teaching in Tumultuous Times
Despite our aspirations for our classrooms to be home to open inquiry and reasoned, informed debate, sometimes the intensely traumatic nature of current events can overwhelm us or our students. Whether it is recurring incidents of mass violence, the persistence of social or environmental crises, or polarized political debate in our public sphere, just to name three, students may experience deep-seated emotions that can lead to disengagement from the learning process or reactive conflicts that can be unproductive or harmful. We at the CFT know that the current moment is a particularly stressful time in which tensions are high, and all educators are in need of improving our strategies to help transform these reactions into moments of growth, individually and collectively.
Towards this end, we have several events and resources that will prove useful.
First, we will have the workshop mentioned below, “Transforming Classroom Conflict into Learning,” with Dana Nelson (English), Alan Wiseman (Political Science and Law), and Allison Anoll (Political Science), Monday, November 13th, from 12:00 to 1:15pm at the CFT (please register here).
Second, we hope you will delve into the CFT teaching guide, Teaching in Times of Crisis, as well as those of our peer centers that emphasize many similar and complementary strategies:
- Getting Started with Establishing Ground Rules (Cornell Center for Teaching Innovation)
- Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics (University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)
- Addressing Disruptive Social and Political Events (Stanford Teaching Commons)
- Addressing Difficult Events in the Classroom (MIT Teaching + Learning Lab)
- Teaching in Difficult Times (UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning)
- Handle Difficult Moments with Respect and Sensitivity (Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation)
- Using Cognitive Empathy in the Classroom (UNC Charlotte Center for Teaching and Learning)
- Facilitating Difficult Conversations during Class (Johns Hopkins Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation)
Lastly, please set up an appointment with the CFT staff to help you develop strategies and models specific to your teaching context. You can find out more about our consultations for these or other subjects, along with contact information, here.