Teaching in a Time of International Crisis: Focus on Haiti

As instructors, many of us find that during a time of national crisis, our students often need and want to use the classroom as a place to sort out difficult questions and passionate feelings about current events.

To help you confront the challenges that may arise in these situations, and to guide you in thinking about if or how you want to discuss events such as the earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath, we’ve gathered a list of Internet resources (see below).

If you have specific questions related to teaching in a time of national crisis, or you would like a private, confidential consultation, please contact Julie Rojewski at facdevel@msu.edu or at 432-2033.

We’d also like to hear from you if you have resources we can add to this webpage.

The Learning Network: Resources for Teaching and Learning about the Earthquake in Haiti

The Lede Blog: Updates on the Crisis on Haiti.
Updates, discussions, and videos on the earthquake and its aftermath. Links to previous updates and other information, such as ESPN on Haitian football deaths.

Teaching for Change Building Social Justice Starting in the Classroom: Teaching About Haiti
Offers links to a 43-page PDF booklet, which overviews Haiti’s history and explains U.S. involvement.

Democracy Now
A daily TV/radio news program with videos that could be used in the classroom describing and documenting the devastation and showing relief efforts.

Online Instructional Resources for Teaching in a Time of Crisis
At times of national, international, or campus community crises, students welcome time to share their responses and concerns in class. These resources provide guidelines and suggestions for faculty in leading classroom discussions at these times and integrating these issues whenever possible into the context of the course or discipline.

Discussion Guidelines (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).
This site contains links to guidelines for classroom discussions about the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the war in Iraq, the Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and other controversial or tragic incidents. Guidance and suggestions for classroom activities are general enough to provide valuable resources to draw on during any time of crisis that impacts the classroom. 

Guidelines for Class Participation (Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan). This link provides guidelines that can be used to develop an atmosphere of mutual respect and collective inquiry when discussions are held in times of crisis as well as other occasions.