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After El Paso and Dayton

Hello colleagues, After the unspeakable, horrific events of this weekend, I know everyone in our online community is heartbroken for the people of El Paso and Dayton. Some teachers will feel the need to address the issue in their classrooms. For those who do, I wanted to pass along a blog post from the Teaching Tolerance site, "From Mourning to Action." This article links to some teaching materials on the site that may be helpful.

Take care my friends, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition and Teaching & Learning CoPs 


Nerva Ramos's picture

Thank you, Susan!  

greneau's picture

Hello Susan,

Thank you for opening a space for educators to discuss how they may facilitate and provide a means for students to process these events. Most of us in adult education have compassion as a trait. I think otherwise, we would most likely not have chosen this career nor remain in this field for long. Creating 'safe spaces' is a part of the job, although probably not expressly written into the job description. 

I would caution though, that we must also be cognizant of the fact that our classrooms hold a diversity of people. Some of our students will not necessarily see each of these events as tragic. Are they also afforded the same safe place to express their views? One must ask themselves, whether they are prepared to facilitate such discussions no matter where they lead. As a leader and role model of  appropriate social behavior in your classroom, are you able to show respect for the person who holds a different opinion? Are you able to use such a discussion to enlighten, educate and navigate cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, gender, etc. biases? 

If one is not prepared to be prepared; to understand that what they probably need to allow is a 'brave space' for all, then they need to be armed with more than a lesson plan and teaching materials. Does your program have access to mental health, crisis intervention and grief counseling services?  If not, before entering this arena, please contact one of these providers and learn what and what not to say/ do. In my opinion, it is in everyone's best interest to do so. 

S Jones's picture
One hundred

If somebody doesn't think mass murder is tragic.... expressing that view is basically sanctioning murder so... I would want to be prepared to have some kind of intervention to keep folks safe from that person. 

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

I actually do not understand the following statement: "Some of our students will not necessarily see each of these events as tragic." In other words, I cannot imagine anyone not seeing these events as tragic. How could that be? Please clarify.


Connie C.'s picture

I live in Wyoming, where guns are valued as much as God and oil.  I hear over and over that "guns don't kill anyone," "it's a mental health issue," etc., etc.  It is all I can do not to express my opinions in an unkind way when I hear these remarks!  Since our area is so conservative and pro-gun, I try not to discuss the hot topics in classes, because I know my personal biases would emerge and I would be unable to remain neutral.  

S Jones's picture
One hundred

Thanks so much for this.   

Jeri Gue's picture
One hundred

Thank you for this article, Susan.