Teaching Conflict Resolution

Three weeks ago I agreed to teach a graduate level course in conflict resolution at a college west of Chicago. My life hasn't been the same since. Actually, the course doesn't start until September 10 but there's been no end to the preparation required. Mostly I've been having fun which is a fortunate consequence for me when involved with anything conflict resolution related. When I say "fun" I don't mean in the classic sense. I mean that it challenges me and keeps life interesting.

I haven't wanted to carbon copy previous syllabi (as good as they look) because I have different strengths and interests than previous instructors. Also, I want the students to feel enthusiastic about conflict resolution each week we meet, particularly when the term concludes, and that only has a chance of happening if I'm confident and interested in the material. At the very least, I don't want to create the kind of angst that Geoff Sharp referenced on July 26 described by blogger eliesheva in better than misery. At the time that I responded to eliesheva's post, I had no idea I'd be teaching two months later.

So what responsibility does a professor of conflict resolution have to his or her students? Is that responsibility any different than that of professors teaching other courses? These are questions I've been asking myself a lot lately, thanks in part to eliesheva's honest posts. I hope before, during, and after the term I'm able to answer them to the satisfaction of myself and my students.

By Laura L. Noah
Published on pronoaimediation.blogspot.com
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