At the heart of any university is a mandate to ensure a safe and respectful campus while fostering exploration, debate, and research on a wide variety of subjects, including those that may be controversial. The teaching of controversial issues can provide a rich site for deep learning by exposing students to a variety of perspectives, giving them tools to critically analyze issues, and offering opportunities to communicate democratically across differences (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005; Hess, 2009). However, engaging students around controversies can be complex, as questions of what might count as controversial and for whom arise (Flinders University, n.d.), along with potential classroom management challenges for faculty members (Fournier-Sylvester, 2013). This workshop equips participants with tools to design and implement inclusive learning environments that maximize student engagement and learning on controversial subjects.
In this interactive session participants will engage around case studies, and share their own classroom experiences and strategies in small and large group discussions. By the end of the session participants will be able to:
• design learning activities in order to establish a safe and inclusive classroom environment
• implement strategies to prepare for and lead productive class discussions
• handle challenges and/or emotional responses should they arise in the classroom