The University of Arizona has adopted a new guide for its faculty titled, “Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom.”
The guide offers tips for “inclusiveness” and how to create a “safe space” in the classroom.
So, how are inclusiveness and safe spaces established? The school is encouraging college students to shout “Ouch!” when they hear something offensive, draw pictures (specifically about race relations), have storytelling in groups, play ‘Four Corners’ to encourage healthy group activity, and much more.
The guideline states, “If you feel uncomfortable, you may need to take time out, but let the facilitator know.”
“Creating a safe space for students for engaging in dialogue about challenging topics is vital in promoting positive intergroup interactions,” wrote Jesús Treviño, the author of the guide.
“If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say ‘Ouch,'” the guideline states. “In acknowledgment, the student who made the hurtful comment says ‘Oops.'”
The guideline is very specific in detailing how students and faculty should handle “difficult” or “tense” situations that occur in the classroom. It provides different situations that may occur and offers possible solutions to resolving those situations.
“The objective of storytelling is for students to gain a deeper understanding of the different groups to which their peers belong,” the guide states. “Stories are interesting and convey emotion, history, pain, joy, spirituality, friendship, forgiveness, and other ideas.”
The guide also defines several “terms” for students and faculty to incorporate in their daily work.
For example, the guide explains what a metaphor is and encourages professors to use this form of communication to discuss race relations in class.
The following example is provided:
“Someone might provide the following metaphor: ‘Race relations in America remind me of the relationship between the earth and the sky. The earth represents ethnic/racial minorities, which sends water (e.g., diverse cultures, perspectives, opinions) to the clouds through the process of evaporation, making the sky look beautiful. For their part, clouds (which remind me of Whites) return the water back to the earth and enrich it. Both the earth and the clouds are equally important and need each other in order to live and make life interesting.'”
The guideline states it simply provides solutions to “difficult or challenging topics in the classroom” and is voluntary for faculty to use.
You can read the entire guideline here.
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