Workshop to offer strategies to address controversial issues in the classroom

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence will present a free workshop titled “We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat — Constructively Addressing Controversial Issues in the Classroom” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26. The workshop will take place online via zoom meeting or in person at C213 Olmsted Building at Penn State Harrisburg.

Developmentally, college students’ narrow dualistic thinking often contributes to resistance or hostility toward new ideas. This workshop, facilitated by Brad Bull, will focus on strategies to address those "uncomfortable" moments in the classroom by promoting respectful dialog, enhancing autonomy that values tradition, and nurturing open-mindedness.

The workshop will examine such questions as:

  • What do we do when the class gasps at a student’s comment?
  • How do we honor our grandparents while exploring new ideas they would hate?
  • How do we simultaneously promote confidence and humility, boldness and tact?
  • How do we promote healthy tolerance of “different” and peaceful intolerance of hatred?

To register and view this and other workshops offered by the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, visit If attending the workshop in person at the Harrisburg campus, lunch will be provided to participants who register by Sept. 22.