Concordia faculty is learning new techniques for teaching diverse classrooms
Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is offering inclusivity workshops to professors to teach them to create a more respectful atmosphere in their classrooms.
The goal of these workshops is to help instructors understand “the kinds of challenges, including microaggressions, racism, bias, dimensions of power and privilege that are experienced by a diverse group of students, and apply inclusive strategies in the design of their courses, classroom teaching and interactions with students,” said Fiona Downey, deputy spokesperson for Concordia.
Alicia Cundell, the teaching consultant with CTL said, “we want faculty to become aware of and, at some point, be able to change those behaviours that students find marginalizing, offensive and exclusionary.”
CTL is hosting its annual four-week WinterFest, an event dedicated to workshops on creating an inclusive space in the classroom. The kick-off event was held on Jan. 24 in the Black Box venue in the EV building. It “allowed participants to intervene in scenarios and try different ways of handling the situations,” said Downey. “These scenarios were authentic experiences from Concordia students that were anonymized and dramatized by professional actors.” She added, “other sessions will offer concrete strategies for the classroom, course design and having challenging discussions in the classroom.”
The kick-off event was an interactive theatrical experience. Actors presented classroom scenarios that were inspired by real experiences Concordia students have dealt with. Audience members, which consisted of faculty and administration, were allowed to suggest changes and interact with the performers as the scenarios unfolded.
The piece was directed by Jessica Bleuer, a cultural equity consultant and registered drama therapist who lectures in Concordia’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies. She hoped that professors would gain a more “empathetic understanding of their minority students and an idea of the things that make classrooms unsafe.”
Weekly workshops are being held every Friday from Jan. 25 to Feb. 15.
Archive Graphic by Zeze Le Lin