How Should Teachers Navigate and Respond to Alt-Right Rhetoric?

Dec 29, 2016

POST-TRUTH TEACHING: In a world where political leaders, journalists and other important figures can overlook, contradict and downright ignore facts—a “post-truth” society, as some have labeled it—teachers are left with an increasingly critical question: How can we respond to alt-right rhetoric?

Michelle Mielly, an associate professor in People, Organizations and Society at Grenoble École de Management, says some answers can be found in a 2013 British Council study. One strongly favored skill, among hundreds of global HR managers: cultural intelligence, or the “ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints.”

Key to instilling cultural intelligence in students, Mielly argues, is demonstrating respect for others. To teach and embody this lesson, she offers three suggestions for educators navigating “the current ideologically charged environment”:

  1. Building respect for others: “Don’t underestimate your implicit bias… Making students aware of their own preconceived ideas, or “mindbugs” should lead them to see their own blindspots: those greyish areas in which we are ignorant and unaware of our own inherent biases.”
  2. Challenge you original bias: “Students need to reflect on the many assumptions they make linked to social issues (race, gender, religion) and John Rawls’ Theory of Justice of the ‘original position’ can help them do that.”
  3. Learn from history: “Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940) are quite useful in conceptualising on where we are historically… I assign specific theses to a group of students and ask them to draw up the connections between what is written and where we are today, and then to make inferences on the implications for their own identity questions.”

How Should Teachers Navigate and Respond to Alt-Right Rhetoric?

Dec 29, 2016

POST-TRUTH TEACHING: In a world where political leaders, journalists and other important figures can overlook, contradict and downright ignore facts—a “post-truth” society, as some have labeled it—teachers are left with an increasingly critical question: How can we respond to alt-right rhetoric?

Michelle Mielly, an associate professor in People, Organizations and Society at Grenoble École de Management, says some answers can be found in a 2013 British Council study. One strongly favored skill, among hundreds of global HR managers: cultural intelligence, or the “ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints.”

Key to instilling cultural intelligence in students, Mielly argues, is demonstrating respect for others. To teach and embody this lesson, she offers three suggestions for educators navigating “the current ideologically charged environment”:

  1. Building respect for others: “Don’t underestimate your implicit bias… Making students aware of their own preconceived ideas, or “mindbugs” should lead them to see their own blindspots: those greyish areas in which we are ignorant and unaware of our own inherent biases.”
  2. Challenge you original bias: “Students need to reflect on the many assumptions they make linked to social issues (race, gender, religion) and John Rawls’ Theory of Justice of the ‘original position’ can help them do that.”
  3. Learn from history: “Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940) are quite useful in conceptualising on where we are historically… I assign specific theses to a group of students and ask them to draw up the connections between what is written and where we are today, and then to make inferences on the implications for their own identity questions.”

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