I thought that, at the end of our conversation on Friday, a very insightful comment was made. One of our colleagues pointed out that talking about issues around (sexism, racism, insert-ism-here) can be really hard, because we’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing.
This suggests to me that we have no ground rules. When we don’t know what the rules are, we’re worried about breaking them… and, we have no idea what the consequences are for breaking those rules.
For Monday, I’d like you to read this guide from the University Health Services at UC Berkeley. Titled “How to Have Supportive and Respectful Communication Among Friends, Classmates and Co-Workers,” I think it gives you some starting points for what might serve as ground rules for conversations in our classroom.
You might google around for other examples, using terms like “guidelines for respectful conversation,” “groundrules for conversation,” and so on.
Pick two or three ground rules that you feel are particularly critical, and explain why you think they’re particularly important. Also, pick one or two that you think you, personally, have (historically) had a hard time adhering to. For example, are you prone to judge people before they finish explaining themselves? Are you quick to argue, or (the opposite) are you quick to give up in an argument? The purpose of identifying weaknesses is so we know where we need to invest our most energy in terms of improvement.
Put this short reflection together and submit it to Moodle. I’ll reflect some pieces back anonymously, which will serve as a starting point for future discussions.