Difficult dialogue in the classroom can emerge around many topics such as race, class, gender, faith, politics, current controversies, and more.
When asking students to dig deeper into complex topics and challenging experiences, we can best help them grow by intentionally providing opportunities to reflect on themselves and call each other into dialogue with courage and generosity.
To engage in dialogue is one of the simplest ways we can begin as teachers, scholars and critical thinkers to cross boundaries, the barriers that may or may not be erected by race, gender, class, professional standing, and a host of other differences.bell hooks
Explore & Consider
Explore & Consider contains short articles and videos that reflect on or summarize current thinking, research, or experiences related to the topic.
ACT to Sustain Learning Through Current Events
From Stanford - The ACT to Sustain Learning Through Current Events resource provides a range of instructional practices for supporting your students and their course learning through potentially disruptive current events, which you can adapt to your courses.
Beat the Bourgeoisie: A Social Class Inequality and Mobility Simulation Game
Provide an experiential exploration of ideas of race, class, and their intersection through this simulation.
Culture: A View of the Self
For my students, culture was something exotic and foreign, the odd quirks that make “them” different from “us.” ... How could I challenge my students to think differently and more deeply about how culture shapes us?
Difficult Knowledge, Trauma Informed Pedagogy and Safe-ish Spaces
A Berkeley panel speaking to teaching in challenging times.
Encouraging Call-In Culture
From Learning for Justice - A veteran human rights educator explains the value of teaching students to call each other in rather than out.
Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics
From University of Michigan - [I]t is helpful to structure such discussions in a way that defines boundaries for the process and provides some degree of closure within the classroom. Such discussions are an especially important time to explicitly discuss expectations for respecting a range of perspectives and experiences in the room.
Responding to Challenging Current Events
From Facing History and Ourselves, this resource was created in response to the Capitol insurrection and can apply to many challenging current events.
Stop Talking & Start Talking
These UAA handbooks, informed by 'indigenous ways of teaching and learning,' are designed 'for professors who wish to engage their students more effectively in conversations about the most important issues of our time.'
Engage & Elaborate
Engage & Elaborate provides opportunities for a deeper exploration, personal reflection, and more nuanced consideration of the topic.
One of the first steps for creating an inclusive classroom or teaching multicultural awareness is self-awareness and self-reflection. Before we can begin to understand differences between one’s self and others, we must first take the time to reflect on who we are. Here are a few recommended books to support personal reflection:
Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, Blind Spot by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steele, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and Cheating Lessons by James M. Lang
Hear from our peers working in this area.
- Facilitating Difficult Conversations Remotely 07-21-20 - Sue Adams (Human Development & Family Studies), Carnell Jones (Enrollment Services), Rebecca Millsop (Philosophy), & Kelly Shea (Education) Panelists discussed will share why difficult dialogues are needed for their context, what they did in Spring 2020 and why, how it impacted student learning, and how they are thinking about those changes for the future. Access to video restricted by URI login