Teaching Controversial Topics in the Classroom: Maximizing Benefits and Minimizing Risks JANINE DUNCAN, PHD, CO-PRESENTER CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AND LEARNING FONTBONNE UNIVERSITY APRIL 14, 2014 Concerns for Examining Issues PC Personal Opinion Anti-Intellectual Environment Fear Parker Palmer Promote others’ identity Seek, promote harmony Chaos leads to creativity Emergence of new life, ideas What it Means to be Educated? Be Changed. Becoming an Educated Person** We need to be open to those who are not like us. We need to think about the culture in which we live. We need to use new ideas to understand and communicate . . . as we move to new times and places. We need to listen to those outside our community to hear . . . their perspectives. We need to exercise reason. **(Based on principles of Catholic Intellectual Tradition) The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter Brown, J. & Issacs, D. (2005) Creating an Environment of Rapport Sue James (2014), AI Consulting AI is a process that allows individuals to focus on positive, lifegiving conversations rather than focusing on the negative. The 4 Ds—A Communication Process: Appreciative Inquiry (AI) AI Applied to Family & Consumer Sciences Define Topic Define the situation Discover New ideas Discover the different meanings Dream what might be Offer possibilities Design Inform our own practice Deliver Transform us Creating an Environment of Inquiry Critical Science Perspectives A Philosophical Framework for Social Critique Offers “lenses” that promote questions surrounding The Common Good Democratic Practices Emancipative Action/Praxis In Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Introduced by Marjorie Brown (1985) Creating an Environment of Inquiry: Important FCS Perspectives Perennial Problems and Evolving Problems Practical Reasoning Skills— examine the values, means, and consequences for addressing human problems through various perspectives Relies on the learned ability to pose questions: not simply to identify the facts of the matter, uncover the potential for “false consciousness,” revealing contradictory perspectives how misconceptions are socially perpetuated “offer an alternative interpretation” plausible to learners. Creating an Environment of Inquiry Case Study Use in Education Wasserman, S. (2004). This Teaching Life, p. 125-143, New York: Teachers College Press Teach students how to: Communicate effectively Critically examine issues Make informed decisions Respect different views, attitudes, beliefs Case study questions: Data gathering Analysis questions Values identification Evaluative judgments Calls for plans of actions Teachers must: • demonstrate an appreciation for individual frames/perspectives • Need to be comfortable with uncertainty Remember: The world was once understood to be flat, not round. Everything is Controversial! Duncan’s Summary Develop a culture of rapport and respect Develop an intellectual environment founded on Disciplinary philosophy and theories Principles of effective dialogue Principles of CST and CIT Trust yourself Develop comfort with uncertainty Redirect students toward data (exercise reasoning skills) Redirect students toward intellectual purposes of university Remind students of classroom culture Thank you for listening— Q U E S T I O N S / C O M M EN TS ?