We need a little controversy… in the classroom

Nov 28, 2016

Campaign signs.
Courtesy: MorgueFile. Campaign signs from the 2016 presidential election. 

With a nation divided after the presidential election, many are avoiding discussing the election to avoid arguments with family over the holidays. According to two DelVal faculty members, following that rule in the classroom is a huge mistake.

Dr. David Timony, chair of the education department at Delaware Valley University  and Dr. Craig Stutman, assistant professor of history and policy studies at DelVal, have been invited to speak at the 2017 Critical Questions in Education Conference. The event will be held March 6 through March 8 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Their presentation, "The Necessity of Controversy in the Classroom," addresses the importance of using controversial topics in teaching. This presentation is based on an article the two are writing. At the conference, these two colleagues will go beyond the written page to explore the motivations around controversy methodology. They will deconstruct their own discussions and analyses of classroom practice, learning theory, and how deliberate reflection can influence and improve teaching.

“Especially now, with the nation so divided, it’s important for educators to address controversial topics, even when the temptation is to shy away from them,” said Dr. Stutman. “This paper argues that controversial topics absolutely belong in the classroom and looks at how educators can improve the learning experience for a diverse group of students by addressing difficult topics.”