Conference Schedule

Troublesome Topics: Teaching Controversial Subjects in the Classroom

CC13 • concurrent • Return to conference schedule
Thursday, May 2, 2019 • 9:30 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
Dillon Hall 365
John Cappucci University of Windsor Show biographies
John Cappucci is the Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Religion and Conflict at Assumption University. He also teaches for the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Windsor.

In the course of their academic careers, instructors may be required to teach subjects that are politically, socially, or morally contentious. In many cases, instructors may decide to avoid such provocative discussions in order to prevent conflict in the classroom. This approach may seem prudent, but does a disservice to students who should be exposed to the major debates being discussed in contemporary society. For instructors that do pursue these discussions and debates, there are several possible scenarios that could happen from losing their neutrality as facilitator to being unable to maintain control of the classroom. The presentation will begin by addressing the various reasons why instructors tend to avoid discussing contentious issues in a classroom setting. This presentation will move to outline the strategies teachers can use in order to teach subjects that are inherently controversial while preserving a respectful learning environment. In addition, learners will discover ways to navigate classroom discussions by reviewing cases where instructors successfully taught or facilitated debate on a controversial subject.