Navigating Difficult Pedagogical Dynamics

Political Contention in the Classroom

Even faculty with years of teaching experience encounter challenges in the classroom. Difficult encounters and dynamics can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for both faculty and students. These situations are made even more difficult when considering the wider political debates that can frame these encounters, including the rise of right-wing, far-right, white nationalist, trans-exclusionary feminist (TERF), and men’s rights activism; backlash against critical race studies, gender studies, Marxism, and postmodern theory; reactions to social movements such as #BLM and #MeToo; the repudiation of “woke” culture and labelling people as “snowflakes;” anti-intellectualism; and debates around call-out culture. The following section aims to provide some background and tools for navigating difficult topics, discussions, and encounters in the classroom, with resources for further reading and support.

Self-Assessment Quiz

Want to test your familiarity with this section’s content? The following self-assessment quiz (available below) offers scenarios to help you test your knowledge and identify how best to use and engage with the material introduced in this section:


Self-assessment questions for this section are available in the Appendix.


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Better Practices in the Classroom by Natalie Kouri-Towe and Myloe Martel-Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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