You’re here to begin the journey of embracing teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange. The first step? Commit to know yourself, your students, and your content.
Across this journey, you will be prompted to record your answers during some activities. You can record them or type them on your own device and save the files so you can come back to them later. If you see the option to take notes within the text boxes, you can print and/or email them to yourself at the end of the activity for your personal use. You can also access a digital download of this Experience Journey if you prefer.
This journey has four parts:
First step: Tell Your Story
Think of a learning experience where you felt genuinely seen. The learning experience may have occurred outside of the classroom. Tell a story about that experience. Do your best to put yourself in that particular space and time and describe what precisely was happening that contributed to your experience.
Record your answers on your own device.
You can refer back to them later.
Next up: Listen to Learn
Humanizing the Learning Environment
Let’s listen to Chrystal Seawood, an educator and artist based near Washington, DC, speak about how she uses her understanding of herself, her students, and instructional planning to create a humanizing learning environment for students.
Listen twice to what Chrystal has to say. These repeated listens are essential to deepening your understanding, as we will be prompting you to listen with different “ears” or orientations.
- Reflecting on the media, what resonated with you as a learner?
- Think about dynamic learning experiences that you, your child, or someone you know has had. What connections can you make to the anchor of embracing teaching as a dynamic human exchange and the commitment to know yourself, your students, your content, and the practices Chrystal Seawood describes?
- Think of a time when you intentionally promoted agency and shared leadership with students in your classroom. Describe it, including teacher actions and student actions.
- How do you build relationships with the learners in your setting? Think about the routines or practices you use.
- How do you typically support learners who appear to be disengaged or noncompliant? How do you typically communicate with your students about your expectations regarding “behavior” or compliance?
- Who has power and agency in your setting? How do you know?
Next up: Weave it Together
Now that you have reflected, told a bit of your own story, and learned from other educators, use this template to capture your learnings and concrete implications for your craft.
Weaving it together can increase your self-awareness and your capacity to concretely embrace teaching and learning as a dynamic human exchange through reflective practice, storytelling, and actions that will help fortify your “why” as an educator. See disclaimer on privacy and protection of info.
Last Step: Commit and Connect
Now that you’ve woven it all together, where do you go from here?
Connect with others on this journey so that we as educators can learn and grow together in community rather than in isolation. Commit to equity as an ongoing practice and explore more content on The Elephant.
Engage others in your system
You might start with engaging others in your system – for example, your colleagues, a grade-level team, a professional learning community structure already established – and invite them to join you in this experience.
Connect with us
Explore more on The Elephant in the (Class)room
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