Event Title

Creating Cruelty-Free Syllabi

Presenter Information

Matthew Cheney

Abstract

Often, the policies and procedures on syllabi are written like edicts from a Grand High Executioner. Where does this desire to scare students come from? What does it say about our philosophy of teaching when we begin a course with Thou shalt not…? A syllabus may need to be many things, but it does not need to be authoritarian and abusive. If we assume that our students are human beings, that our job is to build knowledge and conversations with them, and that every one of our students ought to feel welcome in our classroom, then the syllabus can stop being an instrument of abuse and can become an instrument of engagement and even, perhaps, liberation — liberation for us as teachers at least as much as for students. This session will explore ways to achieve that, from simple adjustments of language to more radical and experimental approaches.

Session Type

Breakout Session

Presentation Type

Event

Location

Merrill Place A

Start Date

8-14-2019 1:00 PM

End Date

8-14-2019 2:00 PM

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Aug 14th, 1:00 PM Aug 14th, 2:00 PM

Creating Cruelty-Free Syllabi

Merrill Place A

Often, the policies and procedures on syllabi are written like edicts from a Grand High Executioner. Where does this desire to scare students come from? What does it say about our philosophy of teaching when we begin a course with Thou shalt not…? A syllabus may need to be many things, but it does not need to be authoritarian and abusive. If we assume that our students are human beings, that our job is to build knowledge and conversations with them, and that every one of our students ought to feel welcome in our classroom, then the syllabus can stop being an instrument of abuse and can become an instrument of engagement and even, perhaps, liberation — liberation for us as teachers at least as much as for students. This session will explore ways to achieve that, from simple adjustments of language to more radical and experimental approaches.