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Responding to Difficult Moments in the Classroom
Title: In Response to…
As recent events have revealed, the perceived boundary between the classroom and the "real world" has blurred. In fact, many twenty-first century educators feel compelled to respond dutifully, effectively and with careful precision to emergent social and political crises. Below, we share our best strategies for navigating the challenges attendant to the urgency of the moment.
Section: Tips and Strategies for Success
- Create ground rules with your students to help guide how the class will be held accountable for their behaviors and comments during discussion. Visit CELT's website for detailed recommendations on this process.
- Be explicit about your values. In the syllabus, describe your vision for classroom conduct. Be firm in your response when discussion or behaviors do not align.
- When challenging behaviors or actions, confront the idea, not the individual. Connect to larger patterns of thinking or cultural/political trends.
- Address contentious moments when they happen. Even if you are unprepared and need to defer a longer conversation to a later time, it is critical to recognize the importance of the moment.
- Be clear and up front about your role as a classroom facilitator. When will you step in? What will be student-led?
- Find texts (articles, books, videos, images, podcasts, etc.) that you can use in the classroom to frame and ground the conversation.
- Situate yourself within the context of the moment, including your limitations and struggles.
Section: Campus Support
- For social stressors and cognitive wellness: UK Counseling Center
- To report identity-based bias: Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)
- For DACA and immigration concerns: Community of Concern and Dean of Students
- For legal assistance: Maxwell Street Legal Clinic
- Student Centers: Martin Luther King, Jr. Center
- Office of LGBTQ* Resources
Section: But what if…?
“But what if I get it WRONG?” This is a question that comes up time and time again.
The truth is: you might.
When a mistake happens, own it. Use the misstep as an opportunity to learn. Create strategies to avoid repeating the mistake in the future.