Session 2 D

Lessons from Negotiated Classrooms: Managing Clap-Back Culture

Time: Monday 1:40 PM – 2:50 PM

Presenter(s): Israela Brill-Cass, Fixerrr, LLC and Wesleyan University  Learn more about this presenter by visiting the presenter page.

Level: Established 


Institutes of higher learning, even those that are among the most progressive, are struggling to balance student engagement (uncensored, honest, and challenging to traditional norms that need to be challenged) with concepts of structured learning, appropriate discipline, and respect. Clapping back is about bringing immediate attention to a disrespect or bias on behalf of one’s self or a marginalized community. Cancel culture is about sending a message that if an individual’s actions are sufficiently egregious, their contributions—no matter how large or important they may be to art, education, culture, etc.—are outweighed by the wrong they’ve done and as a result they, along with their contributions, will be erased. Think Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeffrey Epstein. In theory it’s great: challenging long-standing institutional biases and making campuses more inclusive and engaged are goals for everyone in higher education. But how that’s being done, particularly given the speed with which language and expectations around engagement and behavior are evolving and changing around, through, and with us can make the clash feel intense and like an uncomfortable, unwelcome challenge to authority. As a result, students and faculty are experiencing a mixture of frustration, confusion, and occasional hostility. In an era where social capital is measured in likes and retweets, the line between free speech and institutional values has blurred. Using principles of conflict resolution and negotiation, this interactive session provides both understanding of what campuses face and the tools needed to help rebuild trust and community.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand clap-back and cancel culture and how they're shaping classroom and campus engagement.
  2. Recognize where and why language, expectations, and behavioral norms are creating clashes between different generations in the classroom and beyond. 
  3. Develop tools to help build and re-build trust and community in classrooms and across campus.
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