Retreat: Teaching in Divisive Times (Feb 15, 2017)

Teaching in Divisive Times 

In an increasingly-polarized culture, teaching and learning are being framed as ideological actions. How do we navigate this in our course spaces? Is discussion an important part of learning? What are best practices for having discussion go well? How do we get students to prepare? This year’s Winter Retreat discussed Teaching in Divisive Times and featured the School of Education dean Diana Hess, and fellow Grawemeyer Award in Education winner Paula McAvoy, who shared why discussion of controversial topics is needed now more than ever, and how to structure them in a college classroom.

In this interactive session, Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy argued that universities are important institutions for preparing people for democratic life and that classroom discussion is an essential feature of that education. Keeping democratic aims at the forefront of our teaching practice becomes even more important as our country becomes increasingly divided by ideology and partisan politics. Participants engaged in a small group discussion activity that helped them a) experience and reflect upon the features of high quality classroom discussion and b) think more deeply about the democratic aims of the university. View the event agenda here.