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Conflict and Conversation in Religious Studies Classroom Settings: A Workshop at Southern Methodist University

Awarded Grant
DeTemple, Jill
Southern Methodist University
Undergraduate School
2016
Topics: Diversity and Social Justice   |   Gathering Faculty within an Institution   |   Preparing Graduate Students to Teach   |   Identity, Vocation, and Culture of Teaching

Proposal abstract :
This grant will fund a two-day workshop on facilitating dialogue across difference for faculty and graduate students in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University. Workshop participants will learn communication and pedagogical techniques to assist them as teachers and participants in creating conditions for constructive conversations about issues many find contentious, divisive, and polarizing especially at the intersection of identity, belief and world view in religious studies classrooms.

Learning Abstract :
This grant funded a two-day workshop on facilitating dialogue across difference for faculty and graduate students in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University, based on the methodology of Reflective Structured Dialogue as used by Essential Partners, a non-profit that specializes in conflict management. Workshop participants learned communication and pedagogical techniques to assist them as teachers and participants in creating conditions for constructive conversations about issues many find contentious, divisive, and polarizing, especially at the intersection of identity, belief, and world views in religious studies classrooms. Specific topics included making "safe enough" spaces for difficult conversations, thinking of teachers as facilitators, the importance of preparation for dialogue, what makes a good dialogue question, the potential uses of dialogue on campus, and the biological roots of polarization.