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4 SAGE CJ LINK Critical teaching requires carefully undoing pervasive and deeply rooted assumptions about law and order that have been drilled into many students since infancy. They must be led to ask themselves difficult and unsettling questions: Whose interests do the police, the courts, and the prison system ultimately serve? Many students take criminal justice classes because they want to be a prosecutor or a police officer. They want to be one of the good guys. Getting them to think differently about who the good guys are is a difficult task. Here are a few broad tips I've learned over fifteen years of engaging with students in the classroom. Depersonalize: I try extremely hard to not make my criticisms of American criminal justice personal. I find my students will get defensive when I talk about "police officers" or "prosecutors" being racist or sexist. But if I refer to structural inequalities to explain racial and gendered problems in criminal justice rather than those of individuals, they are often much more willing to engage. Most criminal justice professionals are good people caught up in an unjust system, just like the rest of us, and students will respond to this. Know your audience: Every university is different. Every class is different. To take a critical approach in a large state school that is mostly white and middle class is going to look very different from a small, progressive liberal arts program where students may be more familiar with critical approaches. Respect your students' right to dissent: Critical education is not indoctrination. You will always have students who see things differently and it is important that you respect their right to respectfully disagree. Once they understand that they are respected as people, they are less likely to be defensive and more likely to be open. Facts and Data: Using data in a critical context is often helpful because it can make some of the worst inequalities stark and (hopefully) undeniable. We can see the disproportionate sentences for minorities. We can see the likelihood that women will report their rapist and the likelihood that trans people will be victimized. Although I find many undergraduates lack the sophistication to think deeply about where crime data comes from, it can be useful, even if it is simplistic. Imagination: Finally, critical teaching requires being, to a certain extent, utopian… to get students to imagine a better world. Imagining a different, better world and a different, better criminal justice system. But you can only open their minds to this after you've taken apart the old stories about cops and robbers that have filled our culture for decades. Tips for Critical Teaching Author and professor Aaron Fichtelberg shares tips for critical teaching. Criminal (In)Justice A Critical Introduction Aaron Fichtelberg See page 7 for details.

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