SHOWCASE: Teaching Sensitive Topics and Managing Politically Charged Class Conversations (90 mins)


  • Helen McManus
  • Kimberley Daly
  • Aayushi Hingle
  • Yasemin Ipek
  • Patricia Maulden
  • Christy Pichichero



As political polarization looms large, how might instructors make their classrooms welcoming (virtual) spaces where students can explore their ideas on controversial questions, and participate in politically charged conversations that contribute to their learning experience here at Mason? This showcase session takes its title from and builds on Yasemin Ipek’s presentation from ITL 2020, bringing additional faculty and graduate student voices to the (virtual) table. Our five presenters will share strategies they use to prepare themselves and their students for classroom conversations about sensitive topics. Participants in this session will be invited to reflect on the place, possibility, or desirability of neutrality in the classroom; list steps they can take early in the semester to cultivate an inclusive classroom environment for all students; discuss approaches to facilitating productive discussions about sensitive topics; and identify strategies for navigating hot moments during classroom conversations.

Conveners: Helen McManus, Tom Polk

Panelist Speakers:

Kimberley Daly, Coordinator, Project E-Ignite & Adjunct Professor, Teaching Culturally Linguistically & Exceptional Learners Program/APTDIE

Aayushi Hingle, Graduate Teaching Associate, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication

Yasemin Ipek, Assistant Professor, Global Affairs

Patricia Maulden, Associate Professor, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Christy Pichichero, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Modern and Classical Languages, French Section

Author Biographies

Helen McManus

University Libraries

Kimberley Daly

College of Education and Human Development

***ATEA 2019 Winner***

Aayushi Hingle

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Patricia Maulden

Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Christy Pichichero

College of Humanities and Social Sciences





2021 THURSDAY 1:00pm-2:30pm