Yes, I still have not returned to frequent posting here but that may change soon. No promises, I will publish here when I find value in it and have the energy. Last week I participated in a short course (we call these “diplomados” and usually range in length from 20 to 100 hours) on our campus with colleagues from the School of Engineering and Science. Our instructor for the course was Lucero Miranda and I was genuinely looking forward to the class with her leading us and participating with various colleagues from my school. This post is my reflection about the course as part of my final submission assignment.
The first day of our course where we participate in “ice breaker” activities and general chatter about our thoughts on “why are we here” was interesting in many ways. Lucero expressed trepidation (my words, not hers, I am paraphrasing here) teaching a group of “engineers”. I will note that our school is not just “School of Engineering” but school of engineering *and* science; another point I often make is that personally I am not trained as an engineer but hold a bachelor (and master) of science degree.
Nevertheless the comment brought up how we often compartmentalize “others” in many ways from dark patterns of defining “others” but also what we sometimes do here in my university environment through defining how we belong to different schools of faculty. These are of course practical administrative mechanisms but I truly do believe it leads to patterns of behaviour of exclusion. To wrap up my thoughts on the first exercises of breaking ice, I do actually prefer to participate in these faculty training sessions in a multi-disciplinary group to encourage more cross-pollination and frankly to force myself out of my personal bubble and get to know other faculty in our institution.
To not give a negative view of the course, I was truly satisfied with the way the course was led by Lucero. She has a deep knowledge of the subject and led us through readings, videos, reflections, and exercises to give us a view of the challenges we face in society as well as our local community on campus in creating an environment that respects the dignity of all of us and promoting a peaceful space for us to live and learn in. The selection of material was excellent, Lucero pushed us towards real reflection on topics that are core in our daily practice inside and outside the classroom while also keeping the atmosphere light when needed to break up the tension.
One of the prompts is how my views on empathy, gratitude, respect, and peace changed during this course. To answer that, I don’t think my views have really changed but I would point that my praxis in my work as an educator has changed over this past decade to shine a light on this inside and outside my classroom and the experience through the pandemic working with my students and colleagues has definitely put another focus on these topics.
Another prompt is: what have you learned about the recognition of human dignity via the consciousness of the importance of a culture of respect and peace. Again, I don’t think really a learning here but a reinforcing of topics that I have been paying more attention to over this past decade in my classroom and those of my colleagues.
Next prompt is: explain what active gratitude is through practicing a culture of peace and respect. Much of my thoughts and work on this can be seen through the work that I did with colleagues from my Virtually Connecting community (in particular Maha Bali and Mia Zamora) and their continued work at Equity Unbound including the currently running MyFest in 2022 and 2023.
And the final prompt was to define my personal call to action. My answer is to spread the word and be more active and visible (including posting here on the blog) about my work and that of others on these topics.
Featured Image Credit
“A Humble Interview with DRX” flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/53025898004 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license