Grading Rage in the Pastoral Care Classroom Tension, Trust, and Possibilities of Creative Transformation

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Mindy McGarrah Sharp


Assessment and grading can elicit rage on the part of both learners and teachers.  Can rage lead to creative transformation of classroom cultures to support students in achieving learning goals? Can rage sharpen pedagogical commitments? The author reviews a critical incident of unexpected grading rage that emerged in her once a week three-hour masters level introductory pastoral care classroom, what she did about it in the moment, and how three strategies she employed could be helpful for teaching and learning religion and theology more broadly. When grading rage emerges in the pastoral care classroom and beyond, teaching and learning misunderstanding stories, facilitated by neutral questions in charged contexts, can make room for creative transformation when supported by third voices.

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