Topics come up out of the blue, and an immediate response is usually called for. This article from the University of Michigan suggests taking these 3 steps..
- Acknowledge the student who raised the issue while noting that students may vary in their responses.
- Decide whether you are ready and willing to engage with the topic right away.
- Quickly assess whether the class would like to spend time sharing views about the topic.
If students want to have a dialogue, but you want to wait, schedule a discussion for a later class and suggest ways that students can prepare.
This article suggests additional steps when discussing controversial topics, including…
- Identifying a clear purpose
- Establishing ground rules
- Providing a common base for understanding
- Summarizing discussion and gathering student feedback
- Handling issues that involve the instructor’s identity