I am still working on processing and blogging about the session from yesterday. It was incredibly deep so I need time to process. So many things were said that could prompt an entire post or even life-work. The focus of this post is to reflect on what happened in the follow-up discussion that happened about Jess’ session.
In today’s session we started by asking the group to introduce themselves then think of how we reflect with students. Inviting the group to identify ways to reflect before actually reflecting is an inclusive approach to facilitating group discussion. It was interesting to watch it play out.
Reflective techniques in our classroom.
- Wordle (answer garden)
- A whip around: Have students identify one word. Go around and have them say just the word without context. Then go around again and say it again with one sentence of an explanation.
- Progress to praxis: Journaling, reflection questions, what went well, what didn’t, Johns model
- Liberating structures – think pair, share, 1-2-4-All
- Collaborate or draw it tools (padlet, Nearpod) find an image that reflects what you are thinking.
- Large-group discussion
- Free writing (with a prompt, time limit, tell them to keep writing) – can be used both before and after a class. When a conversation is getting heated. Pen to paper, keep writing until the timer goes off.
The discussion of the pros and cons to different reflective approaches was thought-provoking. In some contexts it is important to teach students to make sense of information rather than attach ethics to it so the approach to reflection may differ. When we talked about which of these ideas to use it was interesting how we modified the activity to be more inclusive. Thinking of what might make someone uncomfortable in any activity is an important design consideration. We landed on the idea of a whip-around after already having an answer garden on the go. To make it more inclusive we did not make people read their own out so people would not feel put on the spot but also got to share their ideas. We wrote our ideas on a sticky and someone read them out loud.
- Gain knowledge
- Problem-solving: How do we be inclusive in this context?
- Emerging community
- Sharing experiences
- I want to hear what everyone else thought or felt
- Process. Clarify
- Remove barriers
- Learning culture
- Different viewpoints
- Love pedagogical discussions. Want comfortable learning environment.
I noticed that the reasons were quite positively framed. Reviewing the themes above helped us identify more reasons that we came. It felt like a very inclusive approach. This is one example of something that is within our power to influence in our classroom. Getting ideas from each other by spending time sharing ideas like this is a positive way to move forward.
The barrier of non-faculty not feeling welcome in the Hub is something that we are working to correct. We want to be inclusive, yet there was an obvious irony that all staff were not invited to a session about inclusion. Who may be feeling left out? How can we help them feel included?
We do not provide translation services to international students. How does that pose barriers to being inclusive?
Wait and See
Every session we get on aspirations for our direction as a College is framed as a starting point. We do not have any answers for large and complex issues like inclusion. We are now looking for the second step. Suggestions for how to be inclusive are now needed. We walked away with things to think about but need more items in the toolbox.
There is a disconnect between observed practices in our own practice or at the institution and what is inclusive. Many of us feel excited about the possibility for change. Yet, we are a small group and it is hard to get excited about this if one feels like it is unlikely for there to be action taken to become more inclusive as a College.
What is in our zone of control and what are the barriers?
An anonymous survey would be a good idea to see what the larger group thinks would help with inclusion on campus. The prompt(s) might look something like this:
- Dear management …
- Dear support-staff …
- Dear teacher …
- Dear self …
We care about inclusion. We hope that managers hear that we care. We want the best learning environment for our students. We know that managers care too. They are good humans with an important job. Now we need to find a way to work together and ask How can we as an institution be more inclusive. We can make small changes in our practice but need to work together to make larger systematic changes.
What can the Hub do?
- Provide guiding principles
- Show examples of where inclusive practice has been adopted by management
- Show examples of where inclusive practice has been adopted by faculty
- Checklists or rubrics to help us assess our inclusive practice
- Positive feedback to reinforce what we are doing well