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Strategy 1: Personal Reflection

If you want to develop pedagogical practices that transform controversy into moral conversations, you will need to spend some time reflecting on your own physically abled, class, gendered, ethnic, racial, political positionalities and your own approach to conflict.

• Understand that your own reaction/approach to conflict is your primary pedagogical tool.

• Recognize your own unexamined assumptions surrounding difference.

• Interrogate your own need to be “right.”

• Recognize your own “hot button” topics.

• Understand that difficult dialogues are not designed to change minds.

• Recognize that the primary goal of a difficult dialogue is to develop a more nuanced understanding of why we hold different positions.

• Identify your own fears surrounding difficult dialogues (i.e., loss of control, being viewed as less competent, loss of authority, and teaching evaluations/promotions.)

• Seek more training in the facilitation of classroom difficult dialogues.

• Prior to each class, take a few moments to reflect on your own emotional state of being.

Difficult Dialogues Resources and References