Creating a safe place for all types of ideas

In political science there are often controversial concepts and topics which need to be addressed. It is almost unavoidable. The teachers who avoid controversy at all cost soon gain a reputation for bland or un-engaging classes. There are also some teachers who try to create controversy just for the sake of entertainment and I find those classes to be lacking benefits also. There is no magic formula. Each teacher must make his or her own decision about the types of balance they need in their classes. And each group of students has different dynamics and maturity levels, and therefore need different structure in the classroom.

I have grappled with the right balance throughout the semester. Often I feel like I risk sacrificing student engagement if I handle controversial subjects poorly.

I have come to believe that what is most important however is creating an environent where students are courteous, open, and thoughtful. I have tried to create this environment a number of different ways throughout the semester. I think that in the end if I am successful any kind of idea can be discussed in a safe environment.

2 thoughts on “Creating a safe place for all types of ideas”

  1. The diversity is very important and always ends up creativity and brings new ideas. Maintaining the safe environment where each student feels comfortable and can express his ideas well is very important.

  2. I would be interested in knowing more about what you do to create this environment! Also, do you think there’s anything that could be done to help student approach these topics in a way that facilitates the airing of controversial ideas?

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