Professors discuss ‘Burning Issues in the Classroom’


Gannon University held a seminar Tuesday titled “The Art Of Introducing Burning Issues Into The Classroom.” The speakers included university professors the Rev. Shawn Clerkin, Geoffrey Grundy, Ph. D., Parris Baker, Ph. D., and moderator Richard Moodey, Ph. D.
Civic Missions Schools have completed research regarding the fact that students get more engaged in the classroom when schools incorporate current issues and events. It has been proven that schools that incorporate these things have students with greater critical thinking and communication skills.
Hayley Woebse, a freshman nursing major, believes that the engagement of students would increase if these topics were talked about more.
“I think students want to talk about these things in a classroom setting in order to keep it interesting and entertaining,” she said.
The speakers of this event strived to engage attendees in the conversation by respectfully bringing controversial topics into the classroom, rather than avoiding them.
The goal of this seminar was to talk about tips and strategies for difficult conversations that could be used in the classroom in order to engage students fully.
At the event, students were taught to understand how educators attempt to tie in the real world with what is already talked about through lessons in the classroom.
Staff members were encouraged to try out new ways of bringing out passions within their students.
The speakers expressed how important this event was and why they are passionate about it.
One of the biggest points was that our culture learns through the experiences of others. The speakers said that it is important to be able to see things from another point of view.
This seminar covered ways to discuss different viewpoints in the classroom in a respectful, engaging way.
Moodey, an assistant professor of the sociology program, believes that it is very important to be able to speak on real life issues in the classroom.
“We live in a world in which there are many conflicts,” he said. “It is important to be able to talk about them with civility.”
This event explained the basic importance of learning to talk about issues while still respecting differing points of view.
Grundy, an assistant professor of history, spoke on the issues of safe spaces. He mentioned how universities struggle with creating a safe space for students.
These safe spaces are maximally defined as spaces where students are not subject to any forms of offense.
Clerkin, an associate professor of theater, focused on the importance of communication.
He said that controversial topics are solved by both speaking and listening. He said that overall, we need to engage in conversation in order to resolve and see the others’ points of view.
Baker, an assistant professor of social work, reworded the conversation as “burning issues for whom.”
He spoke on poverty and the fact that we all have the opportunity to behave as human beings and help people who need it. He said that his students are engaged because he brings these types of topics into his classroom.
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