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Group-Authored Guidelines for Our Learning Community

alesnick's picture

From week 1 in the semester:

Guidelines for our Learning Community -- Draft amalgam of group work (+ last cluster is Alice’s)

  • No interrupting/being rude/disrespectful
  • Open-mindedness
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Confidentiality
  • Flexibility
  • Respectful of people’s time
  • Be present
  • Be open to questioning your assumptions
  • Remember that you’re not being targeted if you’re being questioned


  • lean into discomfort
  • assume best intent
  • be open to positive confrontation to reach a mutual understanding
  • challenge the opinion rather than the person
  • overall compassion and respect for others and yourself


  • Speak up if you hear an idea/thought that you don’t understand or agree with
  • Practice active listening -- give people time and space to share (and finish sharing!)
  • Push back with questions
  • Actively share personal experiences in discussion
  • Bring what you are learning in class to other classes


  • No handraising necessary -- engage in organic conversation, allow conversation to emerge
  • Everyone participates - helps the dialogue, not necessarily by speaking out loud
  • Lean into discomfort -- don’t avoice “awkward” topics
  • Be aware of your presence -- ask yourself: What energy am I emitting?,” etc.
  • Create space for others
  • Engage in healthy debate
  • If something hurtful/harmful is said, one should “call in” instead of calling out.
  • Validate experiences and feelings of others (and your own!)
  • Step up, step back
  • In small groups, make sure everyone has a voice
  • listen: “you never learn if you’re always speaking”
  • exercise leadership ability to be aware of group dynamics
  • push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone
  • oops, ouch -- you have a right to say something hurt you
  • acknowledge differences
  • consider brave space v. safe space -- speak up but also be brave to say if you’ve been hurt.
  • Consider questioning via “yes, and” as well as “yes, but.”
  • Cultivate trust in others and self
  • Ask your greenest, tenderest, freshest questions
  • Allow people scope to change their/our minds and be works-in-progress