Language: a most dangerous possession

If there is one class that could possibly benefit every student at UVU it is “Language: A Most Dangerous Possession.” Scott Abbott and Alex Caldiero are teaming together to bring students the chance to learn more about language and furthermore, themselves.

According to Caldiero, every person is affected by language and is surrounded by the cause and effects of words. “Of all the things that we have as human beings, language is the most dangerous of all the things we possess,” Caldiero said when talking about the importance of the class.

The class has been offered in the past and is taught in a non-traditional manner, by two instructors instead of one. Abbott said, “Really interesting things happened the last time when I brought in what I knew and [Caldiero] didn’t know and he brought in what he knew that I didn’t know. Then you add the whole mix of good students who each have things they know that they can bring to it.” Caldiero added, “It’s kind of very open to a lot of possibilities.”

In this class students take their ideas and beliefs and throw them in the blender and see if any new viewpoints come out of it. “Part of what we did in class was to make them very uncomfortable and uncertain about things they’d just been certain about. Not in a way that pretended that we knew, but just pointing out that their confidence was based on assumptions that probably didn’t hold,” Abbott said.

Abbott and Caldiero have presented an opportunity for students to come into a different atmosphere inside the classroom. It is a place to discuss, to disagree and most important to really learn. “For me, one of the things that is really wonderful is when everybody feels a certain level of safety among these dangerous things, and that really makes things happen,” Caldiero said.

At the conclusion of the semester, the students will attend a performance given by Caldiero. “We give them all these perspectives and then they witness a poet using language and thinking about language. They just have all these rich resources to talk about it,” Abbot said.

“Language: A Most Dangerous Possession” is being offered MWF from 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Register for the class under HUM 320R, IS 3500 or COMM 350R.

Leave a Reply