I believe that we come together in a classroom to engage in the enterprise of learning. Learning is often a violent act – although rarely discussed as such. Learning requires that we all risk, change, and make mistakes. If we already know everything before entering the classroom, then there is very little reason to be in school. Because risk and failure and change are part of the learning process, it is very difficult to create a classroom climate devoted to learning that feels nice and comfortable. A classroom, however, can be a space devoted to encouraging others to share their ideas and experiences; its members can work together to cultivate a respectful and open space whether or not they agree with everything that is being said and shared; learning can be a priority when we all come prepared having finished the assignments and taken the necessary time to consider what and how you will contribute to the class and our communal learning space.
We will all experience times when we are learning that we feel frustrated, defensive, angry or afraid, I invite you to reflect about what is happening in these moments for you, to think about why you are having the reaction that you are and why others may not be reacting the same way, to listen to each other’s stories and experiences and challenge yourself to hear and validate each other’s truths. When you consider that someone else’s experiences or truths that may be drastically different than yours may have some validity that does not negate or in anyway deny your truth; however, it does provide you an opportunity deal with the complexities of life - as complicated and challenging as they may be.
Courses I Teach
Comm 3190 serves as an introduction to the scholarly field of intercultural communication. Consequently, the focus of this course is on foundational and contemporary concepts, practices, and processes of intercultural communication, as well as methods of critical intercultural analysis. Students in this course will learn intercultural communication theories and engage in critical assessment of and application of these theories with the explicit goal of addressing issues of social justice and ethical, mindful, and self-reflective intercultural practices. This course will address topics ranging from the contested nature of culture and cultural definition; privilege, power, oppression and marginalization in historical and contemporary U.S. society; globalization, transnational conflict and modern technological influences in intercultural practices; representations of cultures and identities in media and popular culture; and the relationship between language, power, and culture.
Talking about Hard Topics
Talking about Hard Topics is designed to be an upper-division course with two primary objectives. The first is to research what are difficult topics to talk about in our contemporary society and the communication practices often associated and missing in these conversations. The second is to practice talking about these topics in ways that will allow us to strengthen our communication skills and repertoires.