Teaching toolbox: Responding to difficult moments in the classroom

20 January 2017

Tuesday’s LTC lunch provided some fantastic small group conversations about handling those moments in a classroom where a comment causes tension or conflict to flare, and how to respond in a manner that turns the moment into a learning opportunity.

In advance of the conversation, participants were encouraged to read “Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom” by Lee Warren (Derek Bok Center, Harvard).

The University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching’s resource on possible response strategies provided food for thought, and participants used a worksheet (adapted from one produced by U of M’s CRLT) to proactively consider the benefits and drawbacks of various options for responding to these difficult moments.

Having early and explicit discussions of classroom guidelines and expectations can certainly help when difficult moments arise, but the approaches are many. What do you do to prepare yourself for hot moments that might arise in your class?