Monday, August 29, 2016

Worth Reading

The Good Enough Professor has a post up on "Monsters and Mythical Creatures of Higher Education" that's worth reading if you haven't already.

The piece responds to the recent anti-safe space attack from the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago with nuance and thoughtfulness.

Let's be serious: students of color, vets, LGBTQ students, first generation students, these folks (and others) need spaces on campuses where they can find community, discuss issues and experiences, find solutions or work-arounds to problems, and they need these safe spaces where "majority" students aren't going to tell them that there's no racism, and so forth.

All students need faculty who will intervene if another student gets inappropriately aggressive in a classroom discussion. 

All students need faculty and other students to recognize that some traumas are hard to deal with.

And all students need to be challenged and uncomfortable at times, too.  But too much discomfort makes learning harder and less likely.  Majority students need to be uncomfortable, too.

Real teaching skill involves helping students be uncomfortable at a fruitful level and point, supporting them through.  If you're one on one with a student, it's probably easier.  If you've got 30, 90, or 400 students, it's way, way harder.