Sometimes people say things in class and we don’t really know how to respond

Had a day of grading. Took a few short dog walks—he pooped in 7 p.m. hour in the B__’s empty lot. 5:57 [a.m.] now. If we’ll get a call, it’ll be soon, but I now suspect no call. The grading wasn’t too bad once I got started with it.

Had a thought last night at bedtime, 10:30 or a little after, about how the classroom can be a microcosm of communication. I’m thinking here of online communication, where people say weird things or try to be provocative or funny or etc.—how sometimes people say things in class and we don’t really know how to respond. I mean, it could be useful to think of online stuff that way—that one doesn’t need to take on bullies online. Sometimes ignoring them is what I do in class. I mean, I don’t ignore bullying of a student, though I’m not sure of a great response to it, either, other than to tell the offending person he’s/she’s wrong to say such things—and that weird class discussion 3rd hour where several people started saying it was wrong to have a Black Santa. I pointed out a couple problems—that Santa’s depiction was made for a Coke ad, that Santa’s not real (so he can be whatever we want to think of him )—and eventually when H__ said something about she’s not racist because she has a black boyfriend—and I said, alright, I think this conversation’s done, let’s move on—and I changed topic.

Anyway, not that every community online is like a classroom community. Sometimes it could help to think that, to use that model—that when people say dumb things, we don’t always make a big confrontation to the person saying the dumb things—that would cause more social (group) problems. Instead we make a mental note (“that kid’s an idiot”) and we go on. We may not publicly rebuke people, but I’m not always sure we need to.

[From journal of Mon. 19 Dec. 2016, Journal 242, Page 21-3]

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