Making the classroom into a rich but challenging learning environment requires that we as faculty reflect continually on our pedagogy, and for that reason, many of the resources offered by CFCD focus on expanding our repertoire as teachers, whether by learning new practices (e.g. writing in the classroom, using peer review) or becoming more adept at well-known practices (e.g. leading class discussions, commenting on student papers). But effective teaching also requires that we keep in mind the student experience of the classroom, especially when the conversation becomes heated or the topics become controversial. More broadly, while successful teaching involves challenging students and often requires getting everyone to move a little beyond their comfort zone, the classroom should always feel like a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. As a colleague said at a recent lightning lunch, “If I prioritize everyone’s comfort, I might not be doing my best teaching, but I can’t afford to be blasé about my students’ comfort either.” As with pedagogy, the best resource we have in these necessarily tricky terrains is ongoing reflection and discussion, and below we offer some resources in support of these important conversations and some links to valuable websites that address these issues.
Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom (Derek Bok Center, Harvard University)
Creating Inclusive College Classrooms (Center for Learning on Research and Teaching, University of Michigan)
Difficult Dialogues (Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University)