Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence


Many educators assign course readings to purposefully enlarge students’ perspectives. In doing so, though, educators may face a range of behaviors—reluctance, resistance, avoidance, disengagement—from students who feel that such readings negatively press upon their prior knowledge, belief systems, or educational goals. This teaching challenge is often present for social justice educators. However, “rhetorical listening,” a rhetorical theory developed by Ratcliffe (2005), is a pedagogical tool that can help shift students’ understandings of and expectations for the activity of reading, thereby creating a learning environment that supports meaningful engagement with challenging course readings. In this article, the author outlines a process for enacting rhetorical listening and describes the pedagogical outcomes that have been achieved through this process.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.