Inclusive Pedagogy: Transformative Teaching & Learning



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Inclusive Pedagogy: Transformative Teaching & Learning

  • By Paul C. Gorski
  • University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • August 2009

I. What We Think We Know

  • The Who Said It? Quiz...

I. Introduction: Who We Are

  • Who is in the room?
  • My background and lenses

I. Introduction: Agenda

  • Introductory Blabber (in progress)
  • Starting Assumptions
  • Morning Calisthenics
  • Conceptualizing Equitable Education
  • Dimensions of Equity in a Learning Environment

I. Introduction: Agenda Cont’d

  • 6. Scenarios
  • 7. Tips and Techniques for Practice

I. Introduction: Primary Arguments

  • Inclusive pedagogy, at its heart, is about creating equitable and just learning environments
  • It is about curriculum, and it’s about more than curriculum
  • Being an inclusive educator involves shifts of consciousness that inform shifts in practice

I. Introduction: Objectives

  • Develop deep understanding of the process of creating an inclusive (equitable) learning environment
  • Connect curriculum development to pedagogy, classroom climate, and context for a broad vision of “equitable learning environment”

I. Introduction: Warning!!!

  • I do not have any of the following:
  • “The” multicultural curriculum formula or workbook,
  • A tidy set of activities for you to implement in your classroom tomorrow, or
  • A single book or video that will make any class “multicultural”

I. Introduction: However…

  • I do have all of the following:
  • A framework for thinking complexly and critically about educational equity,
  • Strategies for creating equitable learning environments based on your curricular and pedagogical expertise, and
  • Some difficult, sometimes even uncomfortable, questions about what is and what could be in higher education.

I. Introduction

  • You will get the most out of this workshop if you:
  • allow yourself to be challenged;
  • react openly to cognitive dissonance;
  • acknowledge your own great expertise; and
  • acknowledge your need for even greater expertise.

II. Starting Assumptions

II. Starting Assumption #1

  • All students deserve the best possible education, regardless of:
    • Socioeconomic status or class
    • Gender
    • Religion
    • Citizenship status
    • (Dis)ability
    • Race or ethnicity
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Etc.

II. Starting Assumption #2

  • Educational equity is deeper than simple curricular content
    • Pedagogy
    • Assessment
    • Classroom/School Climate
    • Distribution of Power

II. Starting Assumption #3

  • Education is NOT politically neutral
    • We decide which readings and activities to use in class
    • We decide how students are to be assessed
    • We decide to engage (or not engage) students in the learning process
    • And so on...

II. Starting Assumption #4

  • The problem of educational inequity is one of consciousness, not only one of practice
    • Impossibility of implementing a multicultural education if one doesn’t think and see multiculturally
    • Even with a great curriculum, I cannot teach against racism if I am a racist

II. Starting Assumption #5

  • A single instructor cannot undo systemic inequities in a university or the larger society.
    • But at the very least we can make sure we’re not replicating those inequities in our own curricula and pedagogies—our own spheres of influence.
    • * * *
  • Morning Calisthenics
  • The Crosswalk

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • How do you define “inclusive education”? What does it look like?
    • Twos or threes
    • Quick report back

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Important Concepts
  • Equity vs. Equality
  • Hegemony
  • Deficit Theory
  • Master Narrative

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Important Concept #1
  • Equity vs. Equality

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Important Concept #2
  • Hegemony

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Important Concept #3
  • Deficit Theory
    • See Hurricane Katrina piece

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Important Concept #4
  • Master Narrative

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • Approaches to Inclusive Education
  • Status Quo
  • Heroes & Holidays (Additive)
  • Representational Integration
  • Critical Integration
  • Equitable & Inclusive Education

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • The Four Curricula
  • Official
  • Explicit
  • Implicit or “hidden”
  • Null

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • The Official Curriculum
  • What the institution publicly tells the world about itself
  • Mission statements, vision statements, syllabi, other official and public documents

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • The Explicit Curriculum
  • What is purposefully taught in the curriculum or co-curriculum
  • The units, lessons, readings, assignments—that which is assessed

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • The Implicit (or “Hidden”) Curriculum
  • What is taught implicitly, usually without conscious purpose, through behavior, policy, relationships, and social conditions
  • Often hidden in “the way things are”--hegemony

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • The Null Curriculum
  • Part of the hidden curriculum—that which is learned by what is omitted from the curriculum
  • Ex.: sexual orientation’s omission from the “diversity requirement” policy

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • For your reflection:
  • What are two examples of the hidden curriculum of UW-Superior?
  • What are the implications of this hidden curriculum?
  • Who benefits (or is protected) by it, and who is hurt by it?

III. Conceptualizing Equitable Education

  • For your continued reflection:
  • If I were to ask one of your students about the hidden curriculum of your classes, what would she or he say?
  • And the null curriculum?
  • * * *

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

  • 1. What our students bring to the classroom
  • 4. Pedagogy
  • 3. Curriculum content
  • 2. What we
  • bring to the
  • classroom
  • Adapted from the work of Maurianne Adams and Barbara J. Love (2006).

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

  • 1. What Students Bring to the Classroom
  • Past educational experiences (it’s not always all about us)
  • Complex identities, prejudices, biases
  • Expectations about the roles of students and professors
  • Varying learning styles, intelligences, ways of illustrating learning

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

  • 2. What We Bring to the Classroom
  • Complex socializations, identities, biases, and prejudices
  • Notions about the purposes of education and our roles as professors
  • A teaching style, often related to our own preferred learning styles and how we’ve been taught

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • Perspective and worldview: Whose voices are centered, whose are “other”ed?
  • Is content, whenever possible, made relevant to the lives of the students?
  • The “hidden curriculum”?
  • Are multicultural issues addressed explicitly?

IV. Dimensions of Equitable Education in Practice

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • Focus on critical, complex thinking and asking critical questions
  • Paying attention to inequity in classroom processes
  • Attending to sociopolitical relationships (power and privilege) in the classroom
  • Using authentic assessment techniques

V. How We Get There: Tips and Techniques for Practice

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • Part 1: What Your Students Bring to the Classroom

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
  • A. Find ways to challenge stereotypes (both in society and your own field)
  • Example: Albert Einstein as a white, male scientist who wrote very progressive essays about racism, imperialism, etc.

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
  • B. Watch for and challenge student behaviors and relationships that reflect stereotypical roles
  • Example: Men assuming the lead in lab activities, women being “note-taker” in small groups

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
  • C. Be thoughtful about how you create cooperative teams or small groups
  • Example: Avoid temptation to “distribute” people from under-represented groups (tokenism)

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
  • D. Understand students’ reactions to you and your social identities in context
  • Example: Even if you don’t think much about your whiteness (for example), it may mean something significant to students of color who may only rarely not have white professors

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
  • E. Help students un-learn the ways of being and seeing that lend themselves to prejudice
  • Example: Dichotomous thinking, competitive nature of learning (NOTE: this also means WE have to un-learn)

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • Part 2: What You Bring to the Classroom

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • A. Identify and work to eliminate your biases, prejudices, and assumptions (yes, you do have them) about various groups of students
  • Example: Race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, first language, etc.

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • B. Identify and work to broaden your teaching style (which, according to research, probably suits your learning style)
  • Note: Research shows that two elements most effect how somebody teaches: (1) their preferred learning style, and (2) how they were taught what they’re teaching

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • C. Identify and work on your “hot buttons”
  • Question: What are the issues that set you off to the point that you become an ineffective educator/facilitator?

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • D. Provide students with periodic opportunities to share anonymous feedback
  • Note: Students already feeling disempowered and disconnected are not likely to approach you about your teaching or curriculum

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • E. Share examples of when you’ve struggled to climb out of the box and to see the world and your field in their full complexity
  • Note: When we make ourselves vulnerable we make it easier for students to do the same

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • F. Consider the significance of the professor/student power relationship and what this means re: student learning
  • Question: What might it mean to be a white male computer science professor teaching a young African American woman in a field historically hostile to African American women?

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • G. Identify the gaps in your knowledge about equity issues and pursue the information to fill those gaps
  • Point: I cannot teach anti-classism if I’m unwilling to deal with my own classism

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • H. Build the skills necessary to intervene effectively when equity issues arise
  • Examples: Racist joke or comment, sexual harassment, men talking over women

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 2. What You Bring into the Classroom
  • I. Mind your compliments
  • Point: Research indicates that educators, regardless of gender, are most likely to compliment male students on their intelligence. Female students? On their appearance.

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • Part 3: Curriculum Content

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • A. Assign tasks that challenge traditional social roles
  • Example: Assign men to be note-takers, women to be group facilitators

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • B. Try centering the sources you previously may have used as supplements
  • Example: Slave narratives as central history texts instead of supplements to a more Eurocentric framing of history

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • C. Avoid other-ing; weave diverse voices and sources seamlessly together instead of having separate sections or units
  • Example: No units on “women poets” or “Latino voices,” etc.

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • D. Discuss ways people in your field have used (and continue to use) their scholarship and platforms to advocate for social justice
  • Examples: Leontyne Price, Howard Zinn, Stephen J. Gould, Ida B. Wells, Mark Twain

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • E. Discuss ways people in your field have used (and continue to use) their scholarship and platforms to support inequity and injustice
  • Examples: “Science”: eugenics; “journalists”: refusal to critique Bush foreign policy during war-time; etc.

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • F. Discuss the history of oppression and exclusion in your field and how this has affected knowledge bases in your field
  • Examples: Women and STEM fields (and law, business, etc.)

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • G. Vary your instructional materials as a way to draw in students with various learning styles
  • Suggestion: Consider visual, tactile, aural, and other dimensions of your instructional materials
  • Note: Doesn’t mean every lesson must include all of these, but that they’re distributed over the course of the semester

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 3. Curriculum Content
  • H. Encourage students to raise critical questions, not only about the content itself, but about how the content is presented in educational materials
  • Example: Use of male anatomy as “standard”; differentiation between “American literature” and “African American literature” (and misuse of the term “American”)

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • Part 4: Pedagogy

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • A. Be very clear about how you expect students to participate (open discussion, raised hands, etc.)
  • Related suggestion: Avoid first-hand-up, first-called-on approach

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • B. Never, under any circumstance, invalidate or allow other students to invalidate concerns of inequity raised by students from disenfranchised groups

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • C. Avoid putting students from disenfranchised groups in positions to have to teach people from privileged groups about their privilege

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • D. Develop your facilitation skills so that you can effectively facilitate “difficult dialogues” about racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc.
  • Note: When these dialogues happen, be comfortable advocating for equity

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • E. Design assignments that encourage students to apply what they’re learning to a human rights issue

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • F. Allow students, when possible, to choose how they will be assessed (as people don’t demonstrate understanding and application in the same ways)
  • Example: Choice between an essay or an application project

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • G. Invite a colleague to observe your teaching and provide feedback on a variety of concerns

V. The Equitable Learning Environment

  • 4. Pedagogy
  • H. Use peer teaching, peer feedback, and other peer interactions to provide students an opportunity to learn content through a variety of lenses

V. Applying These Ideas

  • The Scenarios

Closing Reflection

Thank you.

  • Paul C. Gorski
  • gorski@edchange.org
  • http://www.edchange.org


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