As the others have said, thank for sharing this. I think it is important to keep in perspective that classrooms aren’t the only things that need adjustments. We need to correct the biases and prejudices in the culture if we really want to see change/equality.
I think that falls into inclusive pedagogy too. Sometimes we need to teach to the streets along with the classrooms. We need to reprimand friends and catch ourselves when those biases pop up. We need to include more than just our students in our teaching, we need to include friends, family, coworkers, ourselves, and others.
Thanks for the post, Ibukun. Striving to accommodate our students as best as possible is important. We are students ourselves which gives us potential to even use our empathy to help design our courses to be accommodating. Reflecting on this post, I remember a student from another university who teaches told me at the start of each he would put out a survey during class to gauge the material students were interested in and how they best learn. It’s not completely focused differences per say, but is one way I would want to incorporate a conversation to be had rather than go through documentation.
Thanks again for the post!
Thank you for sharing! I do remember learning about that in high school (melting pot vs salad bowl) and its a pretty interesting take that has a lot of merit. I also really appreciate you identifying that the place to start is with ourselves. Obviously, we all still have room to grow, but I think by even being enrolled in this class we have demonstrated a willingness to open our minds. We can still struggle with our implicit bias, and idiosyncrasies and faults, but how how we struggle (in my opinion) is astronomically different then someone who is unwilling to take even that first step and admit they might not have it all understood. If we really want an inclusive society yes it starts with us, but those people have to be reached as well.
For sure! I don’t think that’s anywhere close to debatable, and apologize if my post/comment came off that way. I very much didn’t mean to say that CEE is pure and devoid of these issues and so forth and so on, my point was more related to how it’s more difficult to foster inclusivity on extremely polarizing issues where the individuals themselves may have strong convictions. I think there is always more we, as educators, can do to help marginalized communities feel integrated in our classes. Incorporating learner centered syllabi, paying special attention to vocabulary, making sure all groups are engaged and if they arnt take the time to figure out why and fix it. I honestly think a lot can come from just being self-aware and taking an interest in the students. When I was a TA teaching my own lab I had an ESL student that I felt was struggling. It was a senior level class, and I just took my time to make sure she understood the course expectations, the labs themselves, and always offered to help explain things if she needed. Honestly, I never thought twice about it. At the end of the semester she gave me a handwritten thank you card saying that I was the only teacher/TA/professor that she had that seemed to care and that she really appreciated the ‘extra’ effort. I still don’t feel like I didn’t anything remotely special or extra.
Fixing the classroom is a great start, I just worry that it is not really enough to strive to just create an inclusive classroom, especially in high ed. I think what I mean can be explained a number of ways, but take woman in engineering for instance. Of course, we as educators should do anything and everything we can to make woman feel (because they are) equal and welcome. Fixing this cancer is higher education is important, but it does nothing to help the countless women who never felt empowered to make it to higher education as an engineering student in the first place.
I know what we are trying to accomplish is a great start, and within the realm of things we can directly control, but I just feel like if we created an inclusive society we wouldn’t need to distinguish an inclusive classroom from a classroom (pipe dream I guess?). Which I guess goes back to the idea/point of my post that creating an inclusive environment in higher ed, in my opinion, is almost a completely different animal than in the so called ‘real’ world.
The wisdom of Yoda shouldnt be undersold. 🙂
Great post! There is definitely a feeling of comfort when you are around those that are like-minded and similar looking. We may look to surround ourselves with people with similar values that affirm what we believe and reject those who believe something else. Without needing to be challenged about our beliefs, we continue to grow and build our tight-knit circle of those similar to us with hopes of having our thoughts, values, and opinions supported. We may or may not have someone in the group who may say “hey dude, have you considered this other thing?”, which can change and help us grow.
Riya, thank you for sharing your experience. I found it very relatable when you talked about unconsciously interacting and engaging more with students who were eager and enthusiastic in class. I have noticed myself doing this as well and try so hard to not favor certain students. I think that these biases/favoritism elements will always be a part of us because of human nature but as long as we are recognizing, acknowledging, and reflecting on how these may effect our students, we are doing the best that we can.
Negin, what a wonderful post. I think you hit it right on the spot: we can only advance and address these prejudgments when we take time to discuss and engage as a community. By talking about our differences, we can acknowledge and enhance our setting in the academic realm and start to think of these differentiating characteristics as strengths.
Thanks for this, Drew. What connections can you make between this scandal and the readings on inclusive pedagogy?
Thanks so much for this post, Pallavi. I agree that cultivating inclusive learning spaces requires buy-in from everyone — students and faculty alike. Students at VT are required to complete an on-line training about diversity. It’s a start, but there’s lots more work to be done, for sure. I think when we, as instructors, model the behavior we want to see, it can really help.
Brad – you pose an important question and have some good answers here in Connor’s and Meredith’s comments. We’ll also be talking about this in class tomorrow. Stay tuned!