Guidelines on Classroom Decorum:
I expect you to strive to arrive in class on or before the stated starting time. Late entries disturb everyone. I expect you to be in class for the duration; if it is absolutely essential that you must leave before class ends, please let me know beforehand. I may decide to lock the doors five minutes after the scheduled class starting time.
Finding the Bounds of Civil Discourse
In this class we will spend a lot of time on topics that are highly controversial and emotionally charged. We will only be able to discuss these topics if we can agree on how to speak to one another and how to listen to one another. As a class you will spend time in small groups suggesting guidelines for class discussion. These guidelines will cover how you talk to and listen to each other, and other expectations as well. Once those guidelines are defined you will receive a copy, and I will post them on the web site.
We can learn the most when we strive to listen to views different from our own, and phrase our own views so that they can be understood by others with different perspectives. You will probably find in this class when you express an opinion that some agree with you, and others disagree with you. At varioius points throughout the semester, to help you get a better sense of these differences, I will provide you with some information documenting some of these differences.
We are going to be a large group but I want us to be able to talk about potentially sensitive topics. If we can develop acceptable guidelines, and stick with them, this should work.