Facilitating Difficult Classroom Conversations During Divisive Times

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The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) invites members of the campus community to participate in an interactive webinar, Friday, Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m., on facilitating classroom conversations across differences during this time of high tensions, polarization and divisiveness in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election and amid a pandemic, economic crisis, deep social unrest in response to systemic racism and xenophobia, and threats to academic freedom.

Many educators find the task of engaging students productively around controversial and emotionally charged topics daunting. For some, these topics are an integral part of regular curriculum; for others, these topics might come into courses incidentally in these challenging times.

During the first hour of this webinar co-facilitators Laura Vandenberg, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and Kirsten Helmer, director of programming for diversity, equity and inclusion, Center for Teaching and Learning, will talk about ideas and practical strategies for civil classroom conversations related to current events. Participants are also invited to join an open discussion period immediately following this session.
 Participating in this session will give participants an opportunity to:

  •  share and reflect on experiences with facilitating difficult classroom conversations;
  •  deconstruct what can make classroom discussions and dynamics difficult;
  •  discuss purposeful strategies that can help you and your students to navigate such difficult conversations;
  •  move from reacting to responding;
  •  find support among colleagues.

Registration is required and a Zoom link will be provided.