How can people with different views on issues that matter have meaningful conversations?
My students in first-year composition may or may not care about writing a paper, but when I ask this question the first day of class, they are with me. They are tired of the shouting stalemate they see in our current discourse, and they want to do better.
As educators today, and particularly in the humanities, we face several challenges: how do we lead students into worthwhile conversations and real learning on controversial issues? How can we help students overcome their natural obstacles to understanding others, especially understanding views different from their own? How do we help them “loosen up so they can learn,” as my colleague Paul puts it—to open up intellectually and emotionally so that they can engage with the world?Continue reading