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Civil Discourse in the Classroom

Fostering a classroom environment in which students can productively disagree remains an important goal for many instructors, but doing so is not an easy task; there is no evidence-based formula that will guarantee success and any strategy is highly dependent on the energy and characteristics of the course. So how can instructors encourage diverse participation in the classroom without fostering a climate of silencing and limiting the need of self-censoring for their students?

A group of faculty members from different institutions recently came together to discuss this question, as summarized in The Chronicle of Higher Education article “The Elusive Civil Classroom.” Read more to learn about participants’ key takeaways, including their insights and considerations when thinking about how to allow for civil discussions in the classroom.


Campus Scene, students sitting at desk
Campus scenes, students studying in the ILC, Photo Patrick Sweeney