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Teaching Sensitive Topics in Challenging Times

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Teaching sensitive topics in challenging times

Though worthwhile, it can be challenging to teach topics that involve an emotional reaction or invite strong disagreements. Even courses that don’t intend to discuss charged topics may find themselves doing so. This workshop will discuss best practices for handling these difficult conversations, whether spontaneous or planned. Participants will review several concrete strategies, talk through case studies, and reflect on which approaches may work best.

Participants will explore how to build a welcoming classroom climate that serves as a “brave space” for exploration and discussion; discuss how to frame and manage conversations around controversial topics you’ve chosen to discuss in class; and examine strategies for responding to controversial, contentious, or offensive comments that arise unexpectedly.

This workshop is part of the Innovative Teaching & Learning workshop series for GW instructors seeking strategies to increase student engagement, build an inclusive community, and communicate with learners in new ways. Workshops in this series are sponsored by the Instructional Core. The Instructional Core provides comprehensive, integrated solutions for instructors in search of teaching solutions. If you need feedback on assignment or syllabus design, advice on teaching methods, or ideas for new activities, consider booking a consultation with the Instructional Core.

All sessions are free to GW students, faculty, staff, and alumni. GW has an institutional commitment to ensuring that all of our programs and events are accessible for all individuals. If you require any accommodations to participate in this event, please contact libraryevents@gwu.edu at least 72 business hours (3 business days) prior to the event.