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Session R6299 (Let’s Put It All Together!: Pedagogical Fluency in the Middle East Studies Classroom after 2020), 2021
Keeping Current, Understanding the Analytical Journey:
One of the key challenges of the Middle East classroom is that students want to understand what is happening in the region that morning and become frustrated when there seems to be no pattern or good information that can crisply tell them why something occurred in the way it did. This intervention reflects on this perennial challenge through the ways in which the online teaching environment can provide new opportunities for demonstrating the value of patterns of change, different theoretical lenses, historical fact-checking and comparative methodologies. Building on Omnia El Shakry's chapter on 'keeping current' the intervention argues that the best ways to challenge the simplistic perspectives which students bring with them into the classroom is not only to give them multiple analytical tools and lenses but to demonstrate and encourage their use through pluralistic debate, socratic questioning and active synthesis. The very multivocality of online platforms means that using whiteboards and chats enables multiple analytical perspectives to be deployed (near) simultaneously enabling carefully directed discussion and continuous student participation to facilitate a rapid evolutionary process of deeper analytical engagement and the synthesis of perspectives.