November 7, 2012
- Difficult Conversation 2 Tensions in the Classroom: Clashing Ideas/Clashing Values
- Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
- Location: Lamoine Room, University Union
- Description: “Tensions in the Classroom,” the second 2012-2013 Difficult Conversation, is part of a series of informal discussions that offer the campus community an opportunity to talk about issues that arise when people unfamiliar with others’ backgrounds, values, or experiences are asked to work and live side by side.
A university by its very nature is a place of exploration, of questioning, of interaction that brings multiple ideas together. In the best of all possible worlds this interaction should take place in a context of respect. It should include critical thinking and listening, as well as discussion in which assumptions and evidence are explored and the perspectives of both faculty and students are developed.
This is not always the case, however, since a university is also a place made up of people who have varied backgrounds, diverse experiences, differing points of view, and disparate values. This can lead to challenging conversations and broadened insights; it can also lead to tension and stifling disagreements where learning stops and belligerence, defensiveness, or withdrawal emerges. Students in particular may feel reluctant to speak up because of concerns about how they will be perceived.
Differences may be rooted in geography, age, political and religious beliefs, or other factors that determine what people believe and value, and how they see the world. Whatever their cause, is it possible to use the university experience to assess our own values and perspectives in relation to others in the university community? Can we learn to value this process and engage in it respectfully? Can we avoid tension in the classroom?
Difficult Conversations are open to all faculty, staff, and students. Last year, DifCon prompted many evaluation comments like this one: “I really did not know what to expect coming into 'Difficult Conversations' but I was very grateful for the conversation.”
The Difficult Conversations Series is sponsored by Western's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, the University Diversity Council, the Office of Student Activities, and the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100.
- Contact Information:
- Source: Multicultural