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course co-creation and workshop planning

alesnick's picture

Students, please use this forum during weeks 7 and 8 to propose, argue for, debate, question, and plan ideas for section 3 of the course.  Enjoy!


eheller's picture

I would love to apply the ideas we are exploring in this class to concrete applications in the classroom. One application I think would be interesting would be how to teach about other cultures, places, and time periods through a desire-based framework. We all cringed when we heard Frith talk about teaching her students about the lack of schools in Africa, but how could we teach children about the needs of certain places and peoples in Africa without using a damage-based framework? How can we teach about slavery in a way that presents the enslaved people as whole and not just slaves? How can we talk about the Middle Ages without painting everyone as unenlightened and barbaric? How do we acknowledge terrible tragedies such as the Holocaust without victimizing those who suffered and demonizing those who participated? Are there desire-based textbooks? Would we have to start from scratch? Would these ideas change depending on the age of the students? I think this would be a way to apply some of the important ideas we have been learning and show how they can be used in the classroom. 

cliobodie's picture

I would love to branch off of the ideas from the lessons we did on empowering children with chronic illnesses and learn instead about how to empower children with various learning disabilities.  In my current field placement, there are many kids on the spectrum with autism.  I haven’t had much experience working with children on the spectrum or those with other learning differences, and I would really like to learn how to best do this.  I think this topic would be a very important lens for practicing using desire-based thinking, and also learning the best ways to use language and teaching tools to empower.  I have noticed in many schools that students with learning differences are followed by and aide or taken to an entirely separate classroom, and it always felt to me like this approach can be disempowering.  I know that there is another education class focused specifically on special education, but I think that it would be very applicable to the topics of empowerment that we are exploring in our course, and I think it would be a rich and informative subject for our class.

Grace's picture

I love Clio's suggestion. I also would like to learn practical/direct ways to involve play for children with learning disabilities. With "Sickness and in Play" we talked about health problems and play, but play is equally important when working with learning disabilities. I'd like to learn the role of play in relating kids to one another. As Clio mentioned, making kids feel "outside the group" can be damaging, so what if we used play as a solution?

Slafennog's picture

I have been really interested Tuck’s deficit/desire based approach to teaching. I have been looking at how people/ideas/movements have been erased inn our history this semester in another class and I kept coming back to how erasure is a form of deficit. There has been a lot of talk just out there about how important representation of minorities (ie: POC, LGBTQAI+, women, non-gender conforming, transgender, etc.) in pop culture is, and I feel like it is important to have those representations.  By including these groups in teaching about school you can begin the process of un-marginalize them. One specific example I can think of is how by teaching LGBTSAI+ in both history and sex education you can normalize not only talking about them, but bring more awareness about what they are. During the civil right movement there was a push to start too include back history in American history and this is when a lot of (no traditionally black colleges) began to create their African American studies departments. This became a model that led to women and Asian and other minorities becoming a field in which they studied. While that is problematic in that it meant hose things were being taught in a separate sphere then the hegemonic history, it was still a step in the right direction because before that they weren’t being represented at all. This need to create a separate space for minorities outside of the main education system while it gave access to those who wanted to learn about that type of history, it was not forced upon the general knowledge of the vast majority of the population, so that it was not interfering with (or opposing ) the greater society and its norms. So one the one hand we have the erasure of these groups form the main society removing them and their story. Then on the other hand we have marginalized as to accentuate the fact that these histories are not our histories, they are their histories. This creates an othering effect, and creates a further rift. Its kind of like the idea in society of black history month, we set aside time then to talk about African American and their history, but some (and if we are going to be honest a lot) od people think thinks that absolves them from having to deal with POC issues the other 11 months of the year. While having those times set aside specifically dedicated to the history and celebration of those who are often marginalized by society can be a form of empowerment, it is also a time when we could be thinking about how we can expand on these issues into the rest of society and the rest of the school year.

csaunders's picture

I'm interested in non-traditional interactions where empowerment might take place. Because I don't have much time in my placement because of scheduling difficulties, I feel that the interactions I have with students is limited. Most of the texts we have dealt with focus on in-person interactions (Shay listening to veterans, an ethnographer in a community, being a healing presence in a calm setting, etc.). Alice suggested today that I could use technology to interact with students without being physically there. What affect does this have on our interaction? Does this even allow our interaction to transcend not only place but time as well? I think about the program that matches teenagers who are learning English with elderly people over Skype in which both can benefit from the pen-pal relationship.

I think this also relates to the idea of "mass empowerment" versus the need for empowerment to come from a deeply personal and consistent relationship. For example, as Angela Duckworth suggests, we don't know really if or how growth mindset can be "taught." In what way does permeating the atmosphere of growth mindset through the entire school differ from a motivational speaker delivering a 1-hour assembly and then never reappearing? When I think about the current lack of a counselor at my placement, understanding the implications of these diffracting situations can be really important when many students may need these services.

Jayah 's picture

I hope to examine more concrete examples to certain situations. For example, we have been learning about mindfulness and how it can be empowering to students to take breaths, take time to themselves, do yoga, etc. but what if none of this works for a specific child. How do you empower them then? For example, in my placement there is one student that does all of these things mentioned above, yet, this child still continues to act out. In an urban school, I know that this child would not be able to participate in a fun activity as punishment, but in this school, no such thing is permitted. The teachers continue this "mindfulness" although it is obviously not working for every student. Is it expected that a child must continue these mindful techniques in hopes of it finally working? Is taking away a fun activity considered bad?

Also, we have discussed desire/damage-based frameworks. So there is one particular child in my placement that loves math and would participate in a minute, but when it comes to reading he is turned off and his attention shifts. While the idea of this concept is not to focus on damage, but look at the whole picture, I believe in this case it is important to focus on the damage because testing is going to be on math AND reading. So, is there instances where we should focus on damage in the classroom and not look at the bigger picture? Or how can we look at the bigger picture in this instance? I guess what I am looking for is concrete examples (maybe incorporating placements) of some of the concepts learned in the a classroom context.

ttong's picture

        To go along with eheller's paragraph, I would like to learn how desire-base approach could be applied in multicultural education to teach different identities without victmizing anyone, especially minorities. I think we haved talked a lot about the importance of equality, however, in the education of identities, equality seems hard to be reached as the teaching of identites easily victimize some identities and makes these identities vulnerable. Moreover, I would also like to learn how empowerment works in multicultural classroom when a common background is not shared by students and teacher since understanding plays important role in empowerment, and understanding is hard to acheive in multicultural settings. I'm also interested in how multicultralism, in the opposite direction, could be used to better facilitate empowerment in education. How could we use desire-based approach to teach multiculturalism, and use multiculturalism as a means to further empower students?

Grace Mangigian's picture

I've noticed more and more what an important role nutrition plays in my life. The food I eat can directly impact my mood and school performance. What are ways that we can involve nutrition into our self-care regiment? This is obviously an issue for kids in k-12 settings. I remember my elementary school cafeteria offering tacos and pizza twice a week! We can discuss issues of acess; healthier food being more expensive, children who live in food deserts, etc. Also I'd like to discuss the recent push from the White House to supply healthy food in cities, and how it's not simply about supplying the food, but about educating. Healthy eating is influenced by access, but it's also a behavior that has to be created. How can we encourage these behaviors in school? Should nutrition be a part of education and do schools have the right to ban certain foods? P.S. I found this article to be super interesting: 

Kirsten Adams's picture

I would love to have a workshop on this. I remember my mom getting an automated call from my school, elementary through high school, the night before state standardized testing reminding parents to make sure their children got enough sleep and ate a wholesome breakfast the morning of the test. It seemed like they "knew" the value of good nutrition but only seemed to want to educate parents about it when it was before the test!

dpreziuso's picture

I'd like to learn more about mindfulness.  We have a simple definition of the word and have talked about how there is little existing research on the topic, but this has left me wanting to know more since we have talked about it as a potential classroom benefit.  We have also said that mindfulness is not a cure-all, nor is it appropriate for every situation, so I am curious when it is a good time to try to incorporate and how to do so.  Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now, which makes me interested in the media’s role in its future.  I recognize that there are many ways to explore mindfulness in the context of our course and that I have not identified a path that I’m interested in exploring, but I am open to any topic related to mindfulness. 

kregensburg's picture

I most definitely have learned a lot in the course and am eager to try and incorporate some of the ideas we have discussed into my own pedagogy. One thing that appears to be reoccuring is that it is sometimes scary to push into the unknown. We spoke about this briefly when we looked at the videos in class the other day but also I believe many of us experienced this when writing our first reflection essay. In the spirit of mindfulness how can we as educators channel our apprehension at trying something new in classroom, work, or in our lives. We have spoken about how to take negative thoughts and views and channel them into desire based thinking but what about fear? I would hate to think that all the lessons we have learned will not be shared because we were too afraid to step out of our comfort zone. I believe what I am looking for is how can we use mindfulness to be aware of the fear we might have in implementing these ideas but also how to move past that so that we can fully embrace these teachings as educators?

rachaelkoone's picture

I mentioned including nutrition and health in the next part of the course during mid-course feedback. I have been able to see school lunches at each school I have been placed at, and even when they're better than average, it is hard to think of them as truly nourishing meals, and when you consider that sometimes those meals are the only meals they receive, it is hard to imagine that they're able to learn as well when they're hungry. Malnourishment is a result of poverty, poor nutrition education in poorer communities, and a lack of access to fresh, healthy foods. My internship that I worked/work for is intent on reducing the number of food deserts by building farms and markets in poor areas, specifically housing projects in the Kansas City area. We also work with the housing association to provide nutrition and parenting classes in order to inform parents on how they can best feed their children on a budget. In addition, many schools, particularly urban schools, do not have a space for children to play, outside or inside. Schools are taking away phys ed and other sports programs, dangerously increasing the rate of obesity. When children are unhealthy, it is harder for them to focus in class. Healthier students are able to learn without distractions. Maslow's hierarchy of needs supports that when a student's physical needs are met, only then can they pursue their growth needs.

maddyb's picture

I am interested in learning deeper about creating spaces for student to student empowerment along with ways desire based can be implemented to aid these interactions of empowerment. How can peers empower eachother? Could creating a lens of desire better create relationships among peers?  We have talked a lot about desire vs. damage in this class and I wonder how we can begin to implement this mindset not only to researchers and teachers, but in our students as a way to think about each other and themselves. Elizabeth questions about textbooks framing desire based lessons and I also wonder about this..., but wish to push it further.  I wonder if desire based could come naturally with the ways teachers/people in positions of power etc. begin desire based approaches at a young age to switch this lens "on" in a child's head. Could this desire based idea simply be a “natural”  lens or a "way of being and thinking" ?

The interaction between students peice is something we haven't really talked about while focusing on doctor to patient, teacher teaching student mindfulness etc. I believe that students and peers have great potential to empower eachother as I have been empowered by my peers. Is this different then "positions of authority" empowerment? Is it more or less valuable? How can we create “empowerment moments”?

empowered21's picture


            I would really like to go more in depth about specific mindfulness activities and which ones might work best with different age groups and settings. I would also like to learn about the integration of mindfulness into edcaution. As mindfulness is something that can be done in schools of any socioeconomic status, it seems like a no-brainer to implement into all public school curricula, yet it hasn’t been. If the benefits of mindfulness as clear cut as the guest speakers made them out to be, why hasn’t it become much more widespread? How would we go about making mindfulness in education widespread?

Kirsten Adams's picture

I attended the Community Day of Learning session on "Teaching and Learning in a Mulitracial Classroom" with Alison Cook-Sather, and I came out of it intrigued and wondering if we could create a workshop for Phase III of our class revolving around some of the things we dicussed and learned about. I would really like to learn more about how we, as potential future educators can use what is in our tool kit (and what we continue adding to it) to empower students from the different backgrounds they may be coming from. The session was on multiracial identities, but you could apply this to students from all identities: on the spectrum, from different socioeconomic statues, and with learning needs just to name a few examples. Some of the recommendations for teachers we came away from the session with included, "Share Your Own Experiences", "Consider the Role of Silence", and "Become More Conscious and Deliberate". Out of the nine recommendations offered by the facilitators, these three struck me the most because we have mentioned and discussed them in class.

They reminded me of Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements" which I would like to go back to and work with more deeply. The first, "Be impeccable with your word" and third, "Don't make assumptions" are especially relevant to the session today and what I would like to work with going forward into the next section of our class. One of the topics we covered was how teachers can ask students from different backgrounds to share their experiences without making assumptions about their identities and asking them to speak for an entire group. I want to explore how we can empower students and those we work with by respectfully incorporating their experiences into the classroom, and to do that, we must be honest with and share our own.

I apologize for the slight tardiness of my comment!

J_Park's picture

I would like to explore eheller's suggestion about concrete applications of a desire-based framework in the classroom in greater detail. In particular, cultural diversity is one aspect that is often toted as a desire-based approach but this does not always translate to an actual understanding or acceptance of the differences. How can we promote cultural diversity through ways that are not transient or perfunctory but instead empower our learning and contribute positively to an appreciation of our fellow students? While many textbooks may have a damage-based framework, maybe we could explore how the curriculum could be made more flexible for teachers to present the material through a desire-based approach. 


MiriamPerez's picture

Reading maddyb's post made me think a lot about how we've been talking in this class. I hadn't focused on it, but she's so right about how we've been talking about teacher/student interactions but not so much student/student. Something Grace mentioned in class one day early in the semester was how in Denmark, they really emphasize group work. I think that individual empowerment is important, but what about group and community empowerment? In what ways does leaving an individual empowerment framework give us more tools to think about empowerment in groups?

empowered8's picture

I would appreciate using some of our time during the rest of the semester to have full class cross-placement discussions. I feel like I am learning a lot through my placement and am enjoying the opportunity to discuss these experiences with other students who also go to the PALM, but I think we might be able to get a lot more out of these experiences if we analyze them in relation to other placements. Sometimes people bring elements of their placement experiences into full-class discussions that are not specifically focused on placements (and when this happens I definitely find it useful), but I don't know if we have ever discussed an empowerment concept/topic as a class from our placement-based perspectives. I'm not sure whether we need to devote entire class periods to this, but maybe every workshop group could designate a chunk of time at the end of their class to a placement-focused discussion on the workshop's issue of focus? 

erule's picture

I have a hard time focusing. Noise especially robs me of any focus I had. I also cannot focus after working for long periods time, like after a finals or a midterm week. I would like to learn a little bit more about what keeps us focused. I think Grace has a spot on idea about nutrition. Nutrition and diet are really significant parts of what keeps children focused in the classroom. I am also curious how movement affects our ability to focus. I am curious why some kids tap or shift in their seats. Also, why are we encouraged to get out of our seats and "shake it out" or breathe? Why is recess implemented in almost every elementary school but removed in high school? This idea of movement really reverts back to when Alice's former student (I am forgetting her name I am sorry!) came and told us about her classroom and how her students were in their chairs all day. Food and movement and how it affects the classroom!

stalada's picture

Because I am also taking Multicultural Ed right now, I often see connections between the two courses and I think a lot about the ways in which students’ personal lives and cultures (as well as the teachers’) can play a role in empowerment. In light of studying various practices of mindfulness, I think it would be interesting to explore how religion and other personal attributes of one’s culture can be both empowering and disempowering…and how we can work toward making one’s personal culture and experience empowering instead of disempowering. I think in doing this, we could do more to engage with language, religion, conversations about race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation, gender and sexuality. I believe that exploring some of these things would expand upon Tuck’s work on Suspending Damage. Further, a lot of these questions I have arise from my experiences in my placement where I am engaging with students of various cultural backgrounds and who come from a wide range of personal experiences.

On a completely different note (and because I could not quite decide into which area I would really like to delve deeper), I think exploring mental health in a more general state would be interesting. I think it’s incredibly interesting (and disempowering) that a lot of students come into college bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and develop or uncover serious mental health problems in their time learning. I personally have lived this experience, and I wonder how we can understand this and potentially avoid it. On the other hand, how exactly should teachers work with students struggling with mental health issues? How does it impact a student’s ability to learn (both positive ways and negative ways)?

erule's picture

I would also like to explore how mental health affects your classroom presence and your ability to learn and participate in the classroom environment. Maybe from the perspective of both students and teachers?

cnovoaordo's picture

How can an educator facilitate and encourage a positive environment in their class? How can trusting partnerships between teacher and student be motivated? 
Although it is not a very exciting or glamorous topic, I would like to learn more about is Conflict/Resolution and how to handle tough situations. Although class management is something that is normally taught by doing, I think it would have a very practical use outside of the classroom. I had amazing teachers and they had the best intentions, but they did not know how to handle conflicts when they arose in the class. Many students felt a disconnect from the teacher because they saw them as this authority figure that did not understand them.  As a result, many teachers lost complete control and left our school very shortly after. I think it is very empowering for an educator to have the confidence to manage and lead their classroom and also have the trust and respect from their students. 
It would also be very interesting to see how educators are leading their classrooms and what methods they are using to create these partnerships with their students. 

EmpoweredLearner's picture

I would really love to add more discussion about disability within the classroom. I think a discussion about temporary disability would be really interesting because I have known a lot of friends and I have myself experienced a temporary disability whether it be an illness or a concussion that has impeded learning. It would be interesting to have a conversation about queering and how to queer a learning enviornment or institution. I think that queering an institution really emphasizes the empowerment of the student or individual in their personal life paths that may include not going to school until later in life or not following a normative life path. I think that although we have read about children with chronic illnesses and veterans with PTSD those subjects were treated as the rare cases. Every person in their life will suffer from an invisible or visible disability in their life and I think understanding how to better create an enviornment that is maluable to the learner is very important.I think these topics connect greatly with Tuck's desire based thinking as well as how to be a healing presence.