Dana Zartner Helps us Focus on the Positive in Our Classrooms

In her recent article titled, "Focus on the Positive: How Do We Keep Our Classes From Becoming Too Depressing?" (Journal of Political Science Education), Dana Zartner (Associate Professor, International Studies) considers the implications for teaching and learning when we focus on the positive in our classrooms.

Professor Zartner shares that "focusing on the positive in our classrooms "is so important for our students and faculty, in particular, given the kinds of things we do and foci we have."

Zartner Article Download


This article considers the very real issues many of us face in the class- room when we, and our students, confront difficult or depressing issues, situations, or materials. Working with topics such as human rights abuses, environmental degradation, racism and xenophobia, and poverty among many others, students and faculty can experi- ence compassion fatigue, burnout, and vicarious trauma. Yet, rarely are these issues addressed in the classroom, or even, as professors, in our own research and practice. Seeking to start a conversation on this issue, this article explores compassion fatigue, burnout, and vic- arious trauma and the effect these can have on student and faculty well-being, and then outlines a number of techniques and actions that can be taken in our classrooms to help us focus on the positive.

Dana Zartner (2018): Focus on the Positive: How Do We Keep Our Classes From Becoming Too Depressing?, Journal of Political Science Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/15512169.2018.1472000