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  • 1. Controversy? What Controversy? Or… Easy tips to avoid getting into hot water in the classroom Dr. Alan D. Brown III Department of Criminology
  • 2. Today’s Talk
    • Introductions
    • “ Sensitive” Topic Discussions (STD’s)
    • Learning and STD’s
    • Why Teach About STD’s
    • Strategies for Avoiding Problems with STD’s
    • Learning to Live with STD’s
  • 3. Striking a Balance in Teaching
    • Teaching is about:
    • Language:
      • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
        • Determinism
        • Relativity
      • Structuring of thoughts
        • Huxley
    • Ideas
      • “ Safe” ideas
        • Kerr
      • Controversial Ideas
        • Sometimes ya just gotta say…
    HUXLEY Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born - the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. Kerr The purpose of a university is to make students safe for ideas – not ideas safe for students.
  • 4. What Makes a Topic Sensitive?
    • These are issues that often are:
      • Competitions between values and interests of the parties
      • Politically sensitive
      • Strongly emotional
    • They can be about:
      • Events
      • Causes of present situations
      • How to resolve conflicts or issues
      • Setting appropriate courses of action
      • The likely effect of action
  • 5. Learning and Sensitive Topics
    • Educational Development (Perry, 1999)
      • Dualism
        • That is, something is either right or wrong and it is so because authority, namely teachers, parents, experts or leaders, have named it so. 
          • You may find such students pressure you to give them the answer!
  • 6. Learning and Sensitive Topics
    • Educational Development (Perry, 1999)
      • Dualism
      • Multiplicity
        • In this next stage  there is a recognition of uncertainty.  However, students merely regard this uncertainty as a temporary condition and seek to find the ultimate truth which still must come from those in authority.
  • 7. Learning and Sensitive Topics
    • Educational Development (Perry, 1999)
      • Dualism
      • Multiplicity
      • Relativism
        • Students at this stage tend to value all views equally within the limits of personal standards.  They believe that there is no one true interpretation but still reserve the right to exercise the principle of right and wrong. You will often find students at this stage able to describe in detail different theoretical positions but often unable to take and defend a stance.
  • 8. Learning and Sensitive Topics
    • Educational Development (Perry, 1999)
      • Dualism
      • Multiplicity
      • Relativism
      • Commitment
        • They can make a choice about their stance using evidence to defend their opinion.  They can examine the impact and implications of commitments and see them as trade-offs.
  • 9. Learning and Sensitive Topics
    • Educational Development (Perry, 1999)
      • Dualism
      • Multiplicity
      • Relativism
      • Commitment
      • Limited Commitment
        • At this stage students are able to do all of the previous stage but they understand that their own views are part of human growth and in making a commitment to a position in an argument they are able to critically reflect on it and modify it in the light of experience and further evidence.
  • 10. Why do we bother?
    • Topical
    • Relevant to students’ lives
    • Essential part of the curriculum if universities are to fulfill their role in society
    • Offers a chance for both students and faculty to reflect, develop, practice and comprehend
    • Directly relates to the moral and ethical reasoning skills of students
  • 11. Setting Up the Experience
    • Framing
      • Commitment should be discussed up front
      • Appeal to openness
      • Reliance on principles of humanism
      • Inventory of skills, strengths and challenges
  • 12. Ground Rules
    • Governs how class will work
      • Ensures:
        • A safe, non-threatening environment for you and the students
        • The free-flow of ideas in the classroom
    • Strategies
      • Think before talking
      • Evidence
      • Critical Diagnosis
      • “ Cultivate tentativeness”
  • 13. Managing Conflict
    • You have to care…if you don’t, they will know. Be committed.
    • Conflict stems from both student AND instructor behaviours. Be aware that what you do is equally important as what the students do.
    • Strategies:
      • Tone
      • Motivators instead of punishment
      • Verbal and non-verbal communication
      • Check-in with the students
      • Action, not reaction
      • Develop and model civil behaviours, ie., be a good classroom citizen
  • 14. Getting Over the “Overs”
    • Two concerns:
      • Over-attachment to ideas
      • Over-reaction to criticism
    • Solution:
      • Fostering reflexivity
      • Examining assumptions
      • Process over content
    • Strategies:
      • Debates
      • Brainstorming
      • Role-plays
      • Problem-solving
  • 15. A Model for Problem Solving
    • Identify the issue
    • Explore the problem
    • Set goals
    • Identify possible solutions
    • Evaluate solutions
    • Select solutions
    • Plan implementation
    • Evaluation of process
    Team Building Negotiation and Problem Solving ACTION!
  • 16. The Importance of Cooling Off
    • Negative thinking and strong emotions:
      • Lead to problems of management
      • Create hurt feelings and the possibility for insult
      • Are often an emotional response to have your world-view challenged
    • Strategies:
      • Keep a constant watch on negative thoughts and strong emotions
        • Team approach
      • Understand and take note of the impact
      • Reframe
  • 17. Closure
    • You must build in closure to your session
      • Provides a bracket for students
      • Allows you to move on
    • Strategies:
      • The Three-R’s:
        • Recap
        • Reflect
        • Reframe
      • Write about it
  • 18. How Much Of Yourself Do You Bring?
    • Be:
      • Up-front
      • Honest
      • Prepared
        • For class
        • And to be wrong
    • Don’t Be:
      • Hesitant
      • Shy
      • Afraid
      • A Bully
  • 19. Why I Love STD’s
    • “ Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving…conflict is a “sine qua non” of reflection and ingenuity”
    • John Dewey, 1922
    • I hate complacency. I play every gig as if it could be my last, then I enjoy it more than ever.
    • Nigel Kennedy, nd