Incorporating DEI into the classroom often requires having difficult conversations around sensitive and charged issues, which may bring up emotions, reactions, and discomfort. The resources on this page provide tips and strategies for having those conversations in the classroom; we’ve also included resources related to general books on having difficult conversations.
Articles on Difficult Conversations in the Classroom
- Trey Guinn, Preparing for Tough Conversations: How to Set the Stage for Major Change on Your Campus, Chronicle of Higher Education 30 (2021).
- J. D. Vogelsang & Sophia McGee, Handbook for Facilitating Difficult Conversations in the Classroom, City University of New York (July 2015).
- E.A. Grollman, Navigating Difficult Dialogue in the Classroom.
- Jeannine Bell, How to Improve the Discussion of Race in the Classroom, Chronicle of Higher Education (December 2014).
- D. W. Sue, Race Talk: The Psychology of Racial Dialogues, American Psychologist 663 (Nov. 2013).
- D.W. Sue et al., Racial Microaggressions and Difficult Dialogues on Race in the Classroom, 15 Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 183 (2009).
Books on Difficult Conversations
- Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts (2018).
- Kerry Patterson et al., Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High (2d ed. 2011).
- Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (2010).
- University of Alaska, Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University, Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education (2008).
- The two university authors spent several years dialoguing about how to have these conversations; the result was this book, meant to be read in chunks rather than as a whole.
- Ilana Redstone, Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes (2020)
- 8-video course on how to have open and sensitive conversations.
- Tricia Rose, Creating Conversations on Justice (April 26, 2011).
- Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Handling Planned or Unexpected Class Discussions Involving Sensitive Topics.
Resources from Centers for Teaching & Learning
Many institutions have centers or departments that provide instructional design, teaching, learning, and other similar support to faculty, and many of them have publicly-accessible resources for handling difficult conversations in the classroom.
- University of Washington Center for Teaching & Learning, Responding to Disruptions in the Classroom.
- Vanderbilt Center for Teaching, Difficult Dialogues.
- Washington University in St. Louis Center for Teaching and Learning, Facilitating Challenging Conversations in the Classroom.
- See also their resources on Reducing Stereotype Threat; and Establishing Classroom Ground Rules.
- L. Warren, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom (2000).
Give us Feedback
Updates and revisions will be made regularly to improve the resources of the Clearinghouse. Your feedback is important to us, both to point out sources you think may be unhelpful and to suggest other sources for inclusion. If you would like to offer feedback, please fill out this form.