Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Teaching Critical Thinking in a Polarized Political Climate

Thu, August 31, 2017 | Eastwoods Room (UNB 2.102)

5:30 PM - 6:45 PM

As teachers of rhetoric and writing, most of us have already had occasion to deal with charged classroom situations. But we're starting a semester at a time when common ground seems especially scarce. In this polarized political climate, disagreeing in public is becoming associated with hostility and hatred rather than deliberation and persuasion. Both we and our students may have more concerns about speaking out than usual—whether our classes are focused directly on political issues or not.


So let's come together as a faculty to share our concerns, draw on our collective experience, and come up with some productive options.  

Possible topics

  • Varieties of classroom forums: irenic/agonistic; expressive/deliberative
  • Class discussions: phrasing questions, giving examples, handling political comments
  • Information literacy: choosing and evaluating sources of evidence
  • Grading: commenting on and evaluating arguments we don't agree with
  • Strategies for rhetorical listening and reading with charity

Bookmark and Share