This was passed on to us by a professor friend of the blog, and it’s too good not to pass it along to all of you. From Tasha Souza (Boise State University) and Floyd Cheung (Smith College), “Resources for Teaching in Tumultuous Times” is two pages of excellent material.
From their intro:
As teachers, we cannot control all aspects of the learning environment. Sometimes local, national, and international events send shock waves through our communities that most of us cannot ignore and that all of us–students, faculty, and staff–experience in different ways. Although we can never predict how to respond in such moments, here are a handful of resources that might help with framing conversations both in and outside of the classroom.
The material is teacher-centered, and touches on topics from preparing for discussion of traumatic events to teaching in tense political times to specific ways to support students of color to statements of academic freedom.
We could lose an entire day that we don’t have to reading each link and chasing the links within the links, so we’ll leave that to you–but one additional resource to highlight referenced by UC Berkeley in their information on Discussing Traumatic Events is Vanderbilt University’s “Teaching in Times of Crisis.”
A 2007 survey by Therese A. Huston and Michelle DiPietro (2007) reveals that “from the students’ perspective, it is best to do something. Students often complained when faculty did not mention the attacks at all, and they expressed gratitude when faculty acknowledged that something awful had occurred” (p. 219). Students report that “just about anything” is helpful, “regardless of whether the instructor’s response required relatively little effort, such as asking for one minute of silence…, or a great deal of effort and preparation, such as incorporating the event into the lesson plan or topics for the course” (p. 216). The exception, the least helpful and even most problematic responses are a “lack of response” and “acknowledging that [the crisis] had occurred and saying that the class needs to go on with no mention of opportunities for review or extra help” (p. 218).
There are many possibilities for how to address a crisis in class, from activities that take only a moment to restructuring your entire course, and plenty in between. Again, consider that students appreciate any action, no matter how small.
Both are well-worth saving for reference.