Should we have controversial discussions in an academic classroom? Is University a place where students and teachers should have an open debate about competing cultural values and interests and go beyond everyone’s comfort zone? If so, what are the strategies to set ground rules for civil discussion before problems arise? After the case of a TA who showed her class a televised debate featuring a transgender-rights critic, this conversation is urgent and timely.
As main objectives, this workshop, designed for all TAs in Humanities, intends to: first, help the TAs reflect upon their role as teachers in dealing with controversial issues in the classroom and the challenges they may raise; and second, propose and explore strategies for transforming these issues in concrete pedagogical opportunities.
To practice effective discussions, participants will be expected to work in groups, choose appropriate topics that suit their students and their subject, and conduct a short debate in which all the possible angles are presented without the TAs’ personal opinions.
This workshop will count towards the Teaching Commons ‘Record of Completion’ certificate
Facilitated by Daniela Sanzone, Senior Teaching Assistant in the Communication and Culture Program.