Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Multicultural Teaching and Learning as Everyone's Every Day Work


Published on

Liverpool 2010 ISSOTL Conference

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Multicultural Teaching and Learning as Everyone's Every Day Work

  1. 1. This, I Imagine, Is Hard to Do: Building an Integrative Approach to Multicultural Teaching and Learning with Future Faculty<br />Ilene D. Alexander, PhDCenter for Teaching and LearningUniversity of Minnesota<br />
  2. 2. GRAD 8101: Teaching in Higher Education<br /><ul><li>COURSE PARTICIPANTS:</li></ul>graduate/professional students and post doctoral fellows from multiple disciplinary backgrounds<br />50% no teaching experience; 50% wide-ranging teaching experience, including “instructor of record”<br />domestic & international diversity<br />bring across the classroom doorway varied teaching traditions, social perspectives & communication styles<br /><ul><li>COURSE GOALS:</li></ul>practice engaged / deep / student and teacher learning strategies<br />discuss educational theory and practice with practice & reflection<br />study, act & gather feedback, revise to develop teaching skills to promote learning for a diverse student body across disciplines<br />consider how personal / social /cultural contexts inform teaching choices, especially as to what constitutes learning, what teaching / learning practices foster understanding, and what effectively measures learning<br />
  3. 3. GRAD 8101: Teaching in Higher Education<br /><ul><li>2002-2004</li></ul>stressful administrative turnover<br />evaluation of diversity component - drop it or do it better<br />incorporates 2 diversity segments - learning & learners<br />introduction of co-teachers - faculty paired with PFF staff<br /><ul><li>Spring 2005</li></ul>co-teaching teams intentionally “diverse” – eg, international faculty & working class staff; both allies to GLBT and domestic communities of color<br />focus on infusing MCTL discussion & learning<br />weekly “active reading assignments” - aka ARAs<br />strategic base groups, random groups with specific tasks & assigned partners for syllabus development<br /><ul><li>Spring 2008</li></ul>more MCTL readings & cases across course <br />follow up class session “unsettling” tenure and classroom cases<br />penultimate session focuses on “ally” theme<br /><ul><li>Spring 2010
  4. 4. Infusion via international journals & course assignments per student feedback</li></li></ul><li>Everyone’s Work: Moral, Ethical, Practical Dimensions<br /><ul><li>The first conclusion that I want to draw …is that several alternatives to our traditional ways of teaching have been shown to lead to stunning improvements in student achievement…and that massive improvements are fairly easy to attain, even if one does not deal directly with diversity.
  5. 5. My second conclusion is that these non-traditional approaches usually produce large gains by the groups of students who have been hardest to reach with standard pedagogy.
  6. 6. These two conclusions together make it hard to justify offering any course that uses largely passive results…This raises the question of whether it has already become immoral to teach without extensive use of the active learning techniques that so enhance performance.
  7. 7. Nelson,1996</li></li></ul><li>Everyone’s Work: Moral, Ethical, Practical Dimensions<br />Now, if you’re free, you aren’t afraid to learn from everybody and anybody – Myles Horton.<br />I believe unconditionally in the ability of the people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than affirm – Septima Clark<br />
  8. 8. The things I carry / I am from…<br />My parents peopled our home with first generation college student boarders who were women from nearby towns or international men, with activist cousins who as students helped in creating ethnic and women’s studies departments, and with people and books opening my eyes to our community: <br />
  9. 9. The things I carry / I am from…<br />Mexican-American blue collar workers, African-American professionals, Asian-American families whose Midwest location kept them from internment camps but not local prejudice, Arab-American merchants, Jewish <br />professors, gay and <br />lesbian teachers, first-<br />wave southeast Asian <br />immigrants, biracial<br />family members, our <br />Neighborhood: blue <br />collar, working class<br />and professional. <br />
  10. 10. Mindset : Integration<br />Integration is<br />not achieved through <br />spontaneous combustion<br />alone…<br />Ira Reid<br />
  11. 11. Mindset : Integration<br /><ul><li>"person-to-person, and person-to-group, and person-to-group-to-institution relations
  12. 12. “involves attempts to stimulate, test, and perhaps experience new understandings and social, personal configurations."
  13. 13. attends to intra-/inter-group behavior; to roles/attitudes of various gate-keepers.</li></li></ul><li>Mindset : Community Group<br /><ul><li>As long as we [teachers] conceive of our function as directing students to do what we want them to do, we are not [pursuing] group-work techniques. When we use group work, we becomemembers of the group asquickly as we can. Weinvite students to share theplanning with us. We seekthe establishment ofcommon purpose. </li></li></ul><li>Mindset : Community Group<br /><ul><li>We [teachers] develop an organization through which students can participate in the administration of the class. We stimulate the emergence of other leadership. We encourage each member to accept other members and to feel a responsibility for helping them. We bring all members in on the evaluation of activities and accomplishments.
  14. 14. Margaret Courts, 1958</li></li></ul><li>Mindset : Classroom Thinking<br />
  15. 15. Mindset : Classroom Thinking<br /><ul><li>The daily process of communication strives to “help student and teacher learn to think in new ways, especially ways that enhance the integrity… of the person and the person's connections with others. Critical thinking then is not an abstracted analysis but a reflective process firmly grounded in the experiences of everyday…”
  16. 16. “…It requires continuous questioning and making assumptions explicit, but it does so in a dialogue aimed not at disproving another person's perspective but as a mutual exploration of our explications of our diverse experiences.</li></li></ul><li>Mindset : Classroom Thinking<br /><ul><li>“…It requires continuous questioning and making assumptions explicit, but it does so in a dialogue aimed not at disproving another person's perspective but as a mutual exploration of our explications of our diverse experiences.”
  17. 17. Carolyn Shrewsbury, 1993</li></li></ul><li>Mindset : Practicing Conceptualizing<br />
  18. 18. THE ARA / ACTIVE READING ASSIGNMENT<br /><ul><li>The task: Given your own hopes and hesitations, ranges of experience and the readings you’ve just completed (as well as those from across the semester) write a short composition that sets out what you imagine as ways you could engage cultural diversity in everyday ways as a teacher, whether in
  19. 19. determining course materials,
  20. 20. guiding students as they work with one another,
  21. 21. setting a classroom climate, or…
  22. 22. To close your writing, include two or three questions related to this broad topic that you would like class discussion to address. </li></li></ul><li>Brookfield : Adult Learning <br /><ul><li>thinkdialectically: move between objective/subjective, universal/specific; recognize importance of contextual
  23. 23. employ practical logic: attend to internal features of a given situation to reason “in a deep and critical way”, inferential
  24. 24. know how we know what we know: become conscious of own/others’ learning, ability to adjust styles situationally; as teachers, articulate “inferential chains of reasoning”; know grounds for decision-making
  25. 25. engage in critical reflection: assessing the match between earlier rules/practices/practical theories and emerging understandings in “interpersonal, work and political lives”</li></li></ul><li>Glimpsing the Students<br />
  26. 26. Spring 2005 / EEE Section<br /><ul><li>Once again, the temptation for a Computer Science professor is to claim that culture has no impact on their teaching since they teach a subject this is detached from culture. However, there are still ways that culture impacts IT. (Nathan)
  27. 27. This is particularly important in human geography, where people’s experiences – such as through migration, socio-economic marginalization or geo-political conflict are often discussed within course themes. (Emily)
  28. 28. I had not connected my interest in prejudice and racism to teaching it to a classroom with diverse perspectives. (Monica)</li></li></ul><li>Summer 2006 / TGus Section<br /><ul><li>Nelson’s article was compelling. I was moved by his closing challenge, “On what grounds can we possibly justify further delay?” Yet I feel the weight of that challenge, too. Another of our readings began with the suggestion that teachers think about these issues before they come up in class so that they are prepared to talk with students about diversity. An intimidating task for me. Though not all sharing of views needs to be confrontational, that is what I imagine, and I tend to draw back from confrontation; I do not relish being challenged by students. However, our readings today addressed the impact of diversity on learning, and I found that a convincing rational for facing my fears and formulating my views about diversity in a way that I could talk about with students. (Merry)</li></li></ul><li>Spring 2008 / JCW Section<br /><ul><li>That is, I see biology as “so abstract and free of particular cultural constraints as to make it difficult to conceive how one might possibly teach it in a culturally biased way.” Biology to me at the introductory level is a lot of facts and memorization. However, as a teacher I would like to branch out from rote memorization of facts and materials and would like to engage students to think about concepts and discuss ideas among their peers. In this respect I think it is important to branch out to cultural diversity within the classroom. (Andrea) 
  29. 29. Looking back [at my own experience as student and TA], the students that really helped each other along did very well, and those students that were struggling got through too. I think it is a huge thing to make those students that wouldn’t necessarily do well actually succeed. I was one of those kids that went to college without these “higher education” skills and I still struggle sometimes with these skills….But I guess without struggling, you can’t teach the “do’s and the don’t’s.” (Geoff)</li></li></ul><li>Summer 2008 / PDN Section<br /><ul><li>Reading through this material made me realize that my success was in a way because I belong to the diversity group which was trained in it. (Ranjana)
  30. 30. Because I am white, female and American, I have certain beliefs about health and a certain level of comfort discussing different health topics. However, my beliefs and comfort level are likely very different from those of my students and those of the communit[ies] that m students will interact with. In my class, I plan to acknowledge that students have multiple views of health, healing, and wellness and incorporate these different views into my discussions of different health topics. GLBT example (Julie)</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>If I could take all my parts with me when I go somewhere, and not have to say to one of them, "No, you stay home tonight, you won't be welcome," because I'm going to an all-white party where I can be gay, but not Black. Or I'm going to a Black poetry reading, and half the poets are antihomosexual, or thousands of situations where something of what I am cannot come with me. The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution. </li>