Radical Vulnerability in the Classroom: Creating Brave Spaces to Engage and Deepen Learning FLC

Brené Brown (Ph.D., Social Work) put the language of shame and vulnerability into societal discourse with her very popular TED Talk in 2014. Her numerous books and media appearances make it clear that what she says about these topics resonates widely. Brown’s work is based on years of research on the role of shame in our lives and the impact of that shame on families, relationships, and organizations. Showing vulnerability, she argues, is crucial to moving beyond shame and fear in order to unlock creativity, innovation, a sense of connection, and joy. Her findings extend to the academy, where fear and shame seem to be prevalent in the student-instructor relationship. The FLC explored whether and how radical vulnerability in the classroom could build a better environment for students to learn and build confidence for their future lives.

Through reading various works like The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion and guided discussions, this FLC, which met during AY 2019-20, investigated how to create brave spaces in our classrooms and relationships with students. The group was of broad interest to instructors who teach in a range of environments, from those who teach large introductory undergraduate courses to those whose primary teaching responsibilities are as dissertation/thesis chairs.


Eric Abele (THTR)
Keisha Allen (EDUC)
Beverly Bickel (LLC)
Suzanne Braunschweig, Facilitator (GES)
Nandita Dasgupta (ECON)
Lauren Hamilton Edwards (PUBL)
David Hoffman (DCL)
Romy Huebler (DCL)
Elaine MacDougall (ENGL/ASC)
Eileen Meyer (PHYS)
Cynthia Wagner (BIOL)

Samples of Work:

Available in this Threadbox

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