Northwestern University

Tue 2:00 PM

Discussion-Based Teaching: Eliciting Conversation & Navigating Controversy

When: Tuesday, November 13, 2018
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM  

Where: 627 Dartmouth Place, Searle Library, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Kate Flom Derrick  

Group: Searle Graduate Events

Category: Academic


How can you facilitate good discussion among students? What sort of classroom dynamics can equip you to treat controversial topics? This workshop will cover general best practices for teaching seminars/discussion sections, with a focus on generating student participation and handling uncomfortable issues. The workshop itself will be a seminar, so it is essential that you be prepared to actively participate in the discussion.

Please read this article before coming to the seminar, and respond to the prompt below (in one paragraph or less) by Tuesday, November 13th at 10 a.m. Please submit your response on our Google Form.

Imagine that you are tasked with leading a discussion about the issues raised in this article for a class. What strategies can you think of for navigating the discussion of these controversial issues, and/or what concerns would you have about discussing this material in a classroom setting?

Article Link: 

This workshop is led by the 2017-18 WCAS/TGS Teaching Fellowship recipients, which allows graduate students to design and instruct their own First-Year Seminar.


William Cochran:

William is a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy at Northwestern. His First-Year Seminar, called "Future Tense: The Ethics of What Will Be," looked at the ethics of emerging technologies such as genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and big data. It was taught in Spring 2018.

Lorien Elleman:

Lorien is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Personality, Development and Health Psychology. He taught the First-Year Seminar "Controversies and Provocative Findings in Psychological Research" in the spring of 2018. He has also led discussion sections for Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology.

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