Difficult classroom conversations can arise in any discipline. Contentious current events, challenging course content, and events on campus and in students’ lives can all be the impetus for unexpected comments, a challenging turn in dialogue, or a need to proactively acknowledge an issue. How can you lead conversations that create a more supportive, respectful course climate? How can you tie these discussions to your course content? How do you navigate such circumstances without derailing your lesson plan? During this workshop, you’ll discuss how the structure of classroom discussion, classroom ground rules, and your facilitation skills all work together to help you navigate difficult conversations while creating a positive course climate and enhancing student learning. These strategies are designed for faculty in any discipline with any level of experience, from skilled facilitators who regularly teach topics involving difficult conversations to those who have little disciplinary training or experience in navigating tough topics.
By the end of this workshop, participants know or are able to:
- Reflect on experiences and challenges with difficult dialogues.
- Learn strategies for creating a positive course climate.
- Brainstorm how to create and use course ground rules.
- Create discussion structures that lead to deeper listening, respect, and equitable participation.
- Apply insights into how course climate, ground rules, and structured conversations can work together to help you navigate unexpected difficult conversations.
This workshop is almost entirely hands-on. You’ll experience many of the strategies you can immediately put into practice in your courses.
- Structured small and large group discussions about past experiences with difficult conversations.
- Hands-on activities for creating a positive course climate and ground rules.
- Jigsaw discussion on four discussion strategies for difficult conversations.
- Applying strategies to case studies.
Participants can claim a digital badge and certificate upon completing the workshop and a post-workshop survey.