Asset-Based Pedagogies

Asset-Based Pedagogies

Open pedagogy is an asset-based pedagogy, as are culturally sustaining pedagogy (which we discussed in the OER/ZTC seminar you participated in before this one) and trauma-informed pedagogy. Asset-based practices focus on strengths of our students and their communities, rather than deficits.

Bonus listen: For more information on trauma-informed pedagogy, Tea for Teaching has a terrific interview (48 mins) with Karen Costa, an educator who’s been working in this area for several years.

After reading the information at the links above, Respond to these spark questions in the comments below.

  • What are some ways you currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into your course?
  • What else might you be able to do to apply asset-based pedagogies in your teaching and your students’ learning?


  1. So will my page be colored that I write?
    Being me, it will not be white.
    But it will be
    a part of you, instructor.
    You are white—
    yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
    That’s American.
    (from Theme for English B by Langston Hughes)

    Several of my Introduction to Literature classes noted that—although this was written in 1949—some aspects of the situation remained unchanged, with me, the white teacher standing in front of the class of diverse students.

    Acknowledging the situation and giving space for students to talk and write about their hopes is one way that I incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy into my course.

    Whatever the assignment, I encourage students to bring their own cultural, family, or individual flavor to the writing, and whenever possible, to share sections of their writing with the class. I also do my best to include diverse sources for the readings. I think this is especially important when we examine more academic texts, and I would like to find examples that show that academic writing can be culturally diverse as well, in terms of subject matter and style.

    As for trauma-informed pedagogy, the two main elements I bring to the classroom are:
    1. I try to remain positive and focus on encouragement
    2. I make myself available out of hours in case students need extra help, or don’t feel comfortable speaking in the group, or if they want to vent or share something about their situation.

    There are two simple asset-based pedagogical ideas I have moving forward:
    1. I could include a consistent check up in the form of a 1or 2 point questionnaire examining what is working and not working for the students.
    2. I could incorporate more ways for the students to share, publish, or see the larger value in their work outside of the classroom. Included in this is the idea that all writing is valuable, and everyone has something to add to the conversation.

  2. As I noted in my comments on the OER site, sociology as a discipline opens lots of space for asset-based pedagogies. In my Social Problems course we are constantly making connections between the students own experiences and the material that we cover in class (and since much of the material focuses on systemic inequalities, there are many connections to be made). In the past I have also encouraged students to write their essays about topics that affect them or interest them (such as gentrification). However, this semester I am planning to have them conduct research projects on aspects of the COVID pandemic and/or police violence/structural racism that affect them and their communities (I am still thinking through how to frame this) so their projects will more explicitly focus on their experiences as they intersect with these major social problems.

    In terms of trauma-informed pedagogy, I have already incorporated many of these practices in my classes, particularly in spring 2020. It’s been good to read some of the literature on it and know that there is a body of research supporting these kinds of practices. Sometimes I worry that I am doing too much hand holding or making myself too available to students, but learning more about trauma informed pedagogy has made me realize that these kinds of practices are valuable and necessary particularly today.

    1. Hello Amy, I identify with your comment about worrying about whether we are doing too much hand holding, and I also agree with your conclusion that it is valuable and necessary to make ourselves available and to be flexible.

      Your course sounds very forward thinking, and I love the way that you are keeping the connections in your class right up to the minute. I also think this is important because things are changing so fast that I feel we have to be ready to switch up or modify assignments if the current climate requires it.

  3. Teaching policing is always a bit of walking a tightrope, especially during times of intense social activism. Quite a few of our students have experiences with the criminal justice system, often involving the police – both for better and worse. But with these experiences comes value, and students bring that value into the classroom. Policing is not an esoteric subject where students are blank slates waiting to be formed by the material and instructor. Many students come to a policing class ready to learn, often with their own preconceived ideas about policing formed in part by trauma. Indeed, one could argue that the teaching of policing, is and has always been, both an asset-based topic and trauma informed one. I think then that part of my job is to have students begin to see the world of policing from a different point of view regardless if they were “pro”, “against’ or somewhere in between. An interesting exercise may be for students to take a position on a policing issue which is the opposite of what they believe, and attempt to effectively argue that position. Perhaps this could serve as a mechanism to utilize their assess and to help rid some of their trauma related to policing.

  4. In my field, most of the time I will start with the lecture and teach all the time. I really have time to talk about any other thing than the lecture. But I am asking students to stop by my office during office hours and share with me their concerns or their needs. In Spring 2020 in the first session, I asked students to let me know if they need anything, but nothing spoke up. However, later I got some emails about some needs they have.
    During the pandemic, I try to be positive and encourage my students to be positive and cooperative. I am also available for my students to talk if they need to.

  5. C.B.

    I navigate the discussing genetics and nature to explain biology. One particular point where I employ trauma-informed instruction is reconciling community differences for certain diseases. Hypertension effects people of color and particularly African-Americans a disproportionate rate. I share this information after introducing a chemical which commands thirst in the body. That chemical was useful for surviving dehydration during forced migration for the slave trade. This is a form of artificial engineering which led to community change driven by trauma.

    Culturally sustaining pedagogy is very important to instill value in learners. I go into depth on skin pigment and the nature behind it. This could open up into understanding how pigment provides more safety in the sun for acquiring energy. Also as radiation levels continue to rise due to climate change, pigment is very helpful in protecting against cancer.

  6. Some ways I currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into my course are…

    – We always begin class with a check in, usually some version of “one thing that is going well for you” and “one challenge you are managing” we often connect the student responses to whatever is happening in the world as well as the days focus, sometimes these check ins lead to quite a lively dialog and we take the time for that when it is needed. This helps me understand where the class dynamic is that day and I can adjust accordingly and facilitate conversation, brainstorming and support ideas as needed. It also creates an authentic relationship with me and the learners, I am honest and open about what I am managing as well.

    – I usually take the first several classes in facilitating activities and interactions where the learners have a chance to get to know me as well as one another in an effort to cultivate a safe space for learning. This also opens up an active dialog about culture, background and life experience that will influence a student and a classes learning. One activity in particular that works well and the students appreciate is “When the Big Wind Blows”. A key to this is I always participate. We circle the chairs, there is one less chair than participant. The person in the middle gets to choose a topic, and the topic has to be true for them, they then say “When the Big Wind Blows it Blows for…” and they fill in the blank. For instance, “When the Big Wind Blows it Blows for people wearing Nikes”. Anyone wearing Nikes has to switch seats and they cannot move to their immediate right or left. Whomever is left in the center gets to choose the next topic. We start with things we can see, then lead up to likes and dislikes. Then the students usually open up about more personal things like culture, background, experiences…as they feel comfortable. They guide the topics and the depth. This is a great way to get them connected in a low focus and fun way, they get more comfortable with one another, with me and with speaking in public.

    As for applying asset-based pedagogies in my teaching and my students’ learning I think the more opportunity I can offer to put our learners in a leadership role the more I can see what assets they have in place. Beginning with identifying what is working well, skills in place and expertise then allows the students to step back and identify what they want to work on based on their goals and current roles. Specifically…

    – The students choose their speech topics and have a clear outline of the skills I am looking for as well as the requirements. I have a “form” that is based on the rubric that I fill out and return to them with markings for what worked well and things to keep working on. Perhaps I record my students presenting their speeches and they self access by filling out the form outlining what they did well and what they would like to improve. I find they are usually harder on themselves than I am.

    – Adding in a layer where the students specifically choose what type of audience they are presenting for and communicate that before they present. This would allow for more dialog and learning around communicating across cultures. I had a student we called “Betty” who was from Nigeria, where she grew up it was disrespectful to make eye contact, you looked down, especially to elders. Empowering students to specifically choose their audience would generate powerful dialog about different cultures, work environments, expectations and choice. Why is it important to understand your audience and how do you communicate with them. When do you “follow the rules” or “play the game” and when do you choose to change the game.

  7. Asset-based thinking is ‘the’ philosophical basis of the human service profession and so is very much a part of what I teach and try to model. I often show Ted talks by Rita Pierson on ‘every kid needs a champion’ and Anna Scheyett on social workers as superheroes with discussion about why focusing on strengths is more empowering than providing diagnoses or advice, and we do sample strengths-based assessments of hypothetical cases with multi-problem families.
    I always recognize that although I have some knowledge of social sciences and have been ‘educated’ in academic language, many students are veritable experts of lived experiences in structural issues that are germane to class discussions e.g. racism, homelessness, immigration inequities, substance abuse, community disinvestment etc. I consider their experiences invaluable to classroom learning and my lack of street cred, which students find funny, is in fact a marker of my privilege.
    I am always conscious of the ways in which many of our students have been traumatized and treated unfairly by institutions and I work hard not to re-victimize them with my deadlines and ‘requirements’. I do set goals and deadlines but am as flexible as possible considering all that may be going on in the students’ lives.
    One way that I can include more asset-based and trauma-informed pedagogy in future is by listening to students and helping them develop their voice in expressing the social problems that they experienced, in the language that is most comfortable for them. I also hope to incorporate more participatory practices like taking student modifications of the syllabus and asking students to frame quizzes etc. I am also toying with the idea of putting together dynamic, student-led teaching modules on each topic using writing, audio and video which students can contribute towards.

  8. I could be doing so much better on CSP. Economics is, by construction, a colonial research project. I do what I do because I want to tear down the notion that individualistic, more-is-more values are not the only or necessarily best way to organize the production and allocation of goods but when rubber hits the road I find myself frequently watching missed opportunities pass by. Frankly, I think I do that scared white-person thing of feeling too uninformed to facilitate a conversation and so not trying. Which is ridiculous (at best) for many reasons, one of which being that when I wear my trans hat, I tell people that we don’t need to be intimately familiar with every type of trans/queer experience, we just need to believe that other people know who they are better than we do.

    I try to stick to a predictable schedule and communicate changes. I encourage people to be wrong and celebrate curiosity. I let students manage their own body needs — take breaks whenever, eat if they need to, so long as there are no common or relevant air born allergens etc. One semester I required students come to office hours at least once and it was such a great decision but can feel really overwhelming — i’m wondering if i can build checkins into class time.

    Asset-based wise, I do encourage students to come as they are. I try to start lectures asking students questions about their lives and pointing out the ways in which they have already experienced new concepts. I’m trying to get better about accepting multiple formats for assignments although I have been frequently hitting limits in my ability to remain organize — still learning the ropes of brain fog.

    1. As I’m reading through i’m also thinking about letting things be hard — there are a lot of upsetting lessons to learn when we poke into our economies. I field a lot of exasperated “why”s. I try not to overstep, I give the explanations I have to offer and remind them that there aren’t a hard and fast solution. So I feel like, in a good semester, part of what we learn is how to hold troubling information with curiosity. This feels still very uncomfortable for me as a teacher and, while i’m generally pro-vulnerability, i’m not sure that helps my students when my discomfort comes through.

  9. What are some ways you currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into your course?
    What else might you be able to do to apply asset-based pedagogies in your teaching and your students’ learning?

    I think I incorporate CSP & TIP info my course in many ways. Regarding CSP, I first get to know my stidents & their heritage cultures. Then I find ways to not only bring their cultures into the classroom — or embrace their cultures — but to help them to continue to grow and develop in their cultural identity. Simultaneously, we provide the knowledge & skills to access the dominant culture. It could be a conversation based on how what they saw during an observation in an ECE classroom here is similar to/ different from an ECE classroom where they were raised. We may discuss the rationales behind what happens in both programs. Then we talk about what practices the preservice will engage in when they are in the classroom, and why. We also sing songs from everyone’s childhood and native language. We take turns sharing a simple song each week that would be appropriate for an ECE classroom. We discuss what the song means & how it can be used in ECE classrooms. We also discuss strategies to navigate the dominant culture in multiple ways — it could be trouble shooting some issues that someone is having at BMCC, or relationship issues at a field placement, or how to connect with a family.

    I embed TIP in my classes in multiple ways. My top priority is for students to feel safe. That is a multi-faceted & multidimensional process. I work to build a safe space, view the students holistically, intentionally create community, and weave self-care into our work., We talk about what the students need to feel safe. I try to abide by their requests. I try to create a space where the students trust me. I have open and frank conversations with students in class in effort to be transparent and honest. I give students my cell number and create multiple ways for students to contact me. I work to get to know each student. If a student has missed class, I reach out, saying we missed them and hope all is ok. During the spring 2020 semester, I sent each student an individual email weekly asking how they were doing. I never mentioned work in those emails, just that I wanted to check-in. I start each class with a community building exercise. I created a Google group for each class (they become informal cohorts) that I never go on, for them to have long after they leave BMCC. We talk about the methods of self-care that students engage in, practicing them in class, and then I bring a few to practice too.

  10. Anchalee

    Here are some of my thoughts while creating an open pedagogy assignment:

    How do I motivate students to proactively take part in creating an assignment?

    Does the open pedagogy assignment meet student learning outcomes?

    Does the open pedagogy assignment conflict with or aligned with the academic department syllabus?

    Are the student’s learning outcomes attainable and reasonable?

    Are the assignment instructions clear?

    Do students have access to learning materials to complete open pedagogy assignments?

  11. I’m a fan of the emphasis asset-based pedagogy lets us put on *collaboration* rather than passive reception on the part of students. I’ll often start class by invoking the metaphor of the empty vessel and telling students that a literature course isn’t about me pouring knowledge into their brains, but that they’re expected to *bring themselves to the texts*, meeting them partway, so to speak, and working on and with texts in order to generate meaning. (Oddly enough, I find myself increasingly fond of content-based learning and even memorization in my old age, provided it’s content the students are working to extract or create themselves. But that’s a different crotchet.) I’ll repeat some of what I’ve already said in response to a nearly identical question for the Tuesday seminar. I always begin my semesters with an icebreaking exercise, intended not only as a diagnostic and “getting to know one another” moment, but also framed as a chance for students to push back against the syllabus and steer the class to some degree. I offer a series of prompts: “Who are you? What are you doing here? What are you into?” (This third question was originally about their literary backgrounds, but since I’ve found that most students do little to no reading I’ve started using it as a chance to ask about other media, hobbies, traditions, which we can then somehow work into our class discussions.) “What are you looking forward to in a class like this? What are you dreading?”

    My hope is that these kinds of conversations aren’t simply introductory, but community-building. I want students, as they explain the interests they’re bringing to class, to identify like-minded peers and to make friends. It seems hokey to a lot of them, and they tend to ignore it (until they start missing classes and need someone to borrow notes from), but I say in class and on the syllabus that college is much easier to get through when surrounded by and connected with people who are going through the same thing. They need reading groups, peer reviewers, and support groups, and they need to build and maintain those communities themselves. I’ve tried to scaffold this in the past at a couple of different schools by setting up informal study groups (using discussion boards and common areas), but the fact that it isn’t a mandatory, graded, part of the course means that very few attend and they never hang together for very long.

    So I like the “opening” gesture suggested by the approaches we’ve encountered, and I wish that my weekly reading responses could better incorporate connections from beyond the course. I’ve found that students respond well when invited to contribute their experiences to our discussions, probably because it’s often so easy, and I’m wondering how these comparatively low-friction tasks might be used to grease the way into more demanding work. For instance, I teach Walter Benjamin’s short essay “Unpacking My Library,” which is about his book-collecting, and ask students to share stories about their own collecting practices (nearly all have something to say). I then ask whether Benjamin theorizes their experience accurately–whether his words ring true to them–and what, if anything, they’d change or update (this has led to some fruitful conversations about different cultural practices, digitization, and so on). When I teach experimental poetry I like to ask students to adopt a simple constraint (univocality, say–the use of a single vowel) and then work in groups to produce their own poetry. When we reconvene to share the results I stress that I’m most interested in hearing about their methods–*how* they worked–rather than how the results compare to whatever published ideal we’ve encountered on the syllabus.

    This attention to process is also what struck me most about trauma-informed pedagogy. I want to be upfront with students that courses are always works-in-progress: it humanizes the endeavor (and me!) a little more, and makes it clear that there’s always room for flexibility and reconsideration. I’m a supporter of the “checking in” ethos here: I build in preliminary deadlines (mutually agreed upon, when possible, via conversation), and emphasize regular office hours (although I struggle with whether or not to make these mandatory). After every major assignment (usually papers, in my case) I’ll devote the first chunk of class to what I call a “debriefing session,” where we can share experiences–positive or negative–about the process and crowd-source possible approaches to common hurdles. The idea here is that we’re setting ourselves up for a better experience next time. Results are mixed: some students are obviously taking notes and absorbing tactics, but many just want to move on or ignore anything that isn’t mandatory (perhaps exhausted after handing in an assignment, perhaps just accustomed to doing things at the last minute). I’m *always* reluctant to add assignments but I’m considering some sort of low-stakes self-assessment or free writing reflection as a kind of emotional cool-down.

  12. • What are some ways you currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into your course?

    I try to be as flexible and understanding as possible, I give my students extensions for Homework submissions, and offer them make up exams if needed, in addition to that, I record my lectures and share the link for the recorded video so in case they missed the lecture they have a chance to catch up and move forward, when it comes to answer students emails asking me for hints and help, I make sure to answer as soon as I can and I always make sure to follow up and check that things are OK.

    During COVID-19, I feel like instructors should give students “the benefit of the doubt” they go through so many challenges and traumas, so that, giving them support and caring can make a real difference towards their academic success.

    • What else might you be able to do to apply asset-based pedagogies in your teaching and your students’ learning?

    When it comes to give my students knowledge, as much as possible, I build upon the knowledge they already have, our student community is highly diverse, to cite an example: some students with “latino” background learned how to divide numbers in certain way different than the “american” way, rather than asking them to forget their own method to divide numbers I give them the opportunity to continue using it as long as they feel comfortable with it, in the end, Mathematics is universal and different methods can take us to the same results, right?.

  13. What are some ways you currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into your course?

    Since, I teach science and most of my students are obligated to take the course to pursue their carrier. I try to make the course less dramatic as it sounds. In both lab and lecture, I try to open my classes by a casual conversation and encouraging students to share any specific event related to their culture, religion, country etc. I try to ask them questions, that relates to the different culture they come from.
    I do share things, from my own country to make the diversity dynamic and very welcoming in the classroom.
    As per trauma based pedagogy, I think we all encounter that during covid. I checked with my students periodically. I did the visual lab with them via zoom.

    • What else might you be able to do to apply asset-based pedagogies in your teaching and your students’ learning?

    I do not want to sound repetitive but for the asset base pedagogy, I would like to find a different way of testing their knowledge, rather then standard exams.

  14. I teach a 100-level non-majors course in Music, Principles of Music. It is a survey course that studies the seminal composers and masterworks of Classical Music in the Western European tradition. In it, we listen critically to great pieces of music. But, I often start the semester by applying the same critical strategies of listening to songs/works as suggested by the students. In some semesters, the students have done group presentations of works (as chosen by the group), again applying an active and discerning ear: Can they walk us through an explanation of what is happening in a particular song – Does the song use a form? What kind of instruments do they use? What impression/effect does this make? If the performer is not the original writer of the song, have they strayed from the original intention? etc.

    I do want to make more space for this kind of analysis in the class. Perhaps incorporating something at the end of the semester where they can compare a song of their own choosing, to a song we are studying. Or, at least, to be able to re-visit looking a song from their own playlist periodically throughout the semester, so that they can see that (at least some of) the methods we are using to understand music from the Western European Classical tradition, can be applied to music they choose themselves. That they will get something out of this kind of analysis, and active-listening work.

    For trauma-informed pedagogy – we had regular communication through email and Blackboard. I made a point to acknowledge in all communication that these were difficult times, that I appreciated their effort to continue when there was so much upheaval. We also did meet together as a class on Zoom. Many students had difficulty with technology – poor internet connection, limited devices, etc. So, though there was an attempt to have “check-ins” in these sessions, this wasn’t the forum for more personal stories.

    I tried to make our class work as consistent as possible (e.g. always due on Tues) and manageable (short assignments, step-by-step assignments), so that it was our class was not yet another thing that was unpredictable/out of control. I also made myself available to students, and some students took me up on this. Some would tell me how covid was affecting them personally – sickness (self or family), death, difficulties – often by email, but (with one student) in 1-1 Zoom calls.

    We didn’t build in the regular practices of class routines/rituals. We just weren’t in a space where we could really do that; we didn’t have that much structure. Something to consider for the future.

  15. Joe Heissan

    In my public speaking course, the major projects in the classroom all involve some kind of public presentation. For these projects, I encourage students to choose topics about which they already know a great deal, and about which they have some kind of strong personal feeling. I encourage my students to use the major presentations as opportunities to teach us in the audience something we (including myself) don’t know, to report on an issue or topic about which we in the audience might know little or nothing, or to champion a worthy cause that’s important or meaningful to the presenter. Between semesters I keep an unofficial running list of topics I come across in the news which I hope might spark the interests of a range of students in my classroom, as well as topics that reflect the diversity of interests and experiences of my students. My students and I spend time talking about the diversity of experiences, opinions and beliefs that the students bring to the classroom. I acknowledge that I come to the course with my own experiences, opinions and beliefs, and that those might not necessarily align with those of some students and that that should be welcomed. (With the persuasive presentations, there have been times that I’ve been able to sway students to my side on an issue, as well as times when students have been able to sway me to their side.) When preparing presentations, I encourage my students to seek out a wide range of credible sources in order to get broader and hopefully deeper perspectives on issues being considered for presentations. I have invited student whose first language is not English to speak/present in their first language. Not only do I want to celebrate those abilities but, speaking in one’s first language often reveals important details about the presenter and can allow the students and me to provide more relevant and informed feedback. When talking about presentations, my students and I talk about ways in which the same words being said by different presenters could have different impacts on or meanings to an audience, depending on who is saying them. We focus on gearing these presentations to this specific group of BMCC students and me, but also talk about how a presentation to a different audience might impact how one presents.

    At the beginning of each semester, my students and I talk about the current or future challenges some students might face, and the benefits that come from them communicate the fact of those challenges to me sooner, rather than later. I don’t necessarily need the students to provide me the details of their challenge (although many have done so). I strive to make clear that it is not unusual for students to face unexpected challenges or issues that might impact their studies. I acknowledge that I have had to wrestle with challenging life situations while in school, and how much better it was when I approached my professors about these challenges earlier rather than later. I provide referral information for campus resources such as counseling, the writing center, etc. I have included projects where students collaborate on presentations but, I would want to find ways to get students to do collaborate on presentations more effectively. I work to make sure to point out what students did well with their presentations, as well as ways they can make improvements going forward. I strive to make note of improvements over time. I make it clear that I am not looking for perfection. .

    I would like to increase the ways that I incorporate asset-based pedagogies more into some of the low-stakes assignments in my course. I think my students could benefit from providing more peer reviews of work that is in progress. I’d like to make more use of small groups of students working together, so they can (ideally) secure help and support on projects from among their peers. I don’t want to be the only source of feedback.

  16. I currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into my course in these ways: I am aware that we all come into a learning environment with lots of experiences. To quote myself: “No one is an empty bucket.” I make it clear to my students, in words and actions, that I value their opinions and perspectives. Their voices matter greatly, and the skills they’ll acquire in our time together are additions to their arsenals, to further articulate and find their voice as learners. Since the students will be with me for only a semester, they most likely will forget some of the content, but I want to ensure that – despite this natural atrophy – their skills are as fully developed as possible. Many students have experienced traumas or are currently experiencing trauma with the global pandemic, so I want to make sure that they feel comfortable with me to share publicly (or privately) how their experience is affecting their learning and what I can do to support them. I’ve also participated in a mental health first aid training, which I believe prepared me to deal with sudden emergencies. If at any moment a student shares something that I know needs further expertise, I won’t hesitate to first ask their permission to speak to a counselor (I’ve done so successfully before).
    Asset-based teaching helps students feel welcomed, supported, and valued (What do they know and how can we help them move forward?). Students have multiple identities, intersections, experiences, and backgrounds. Since almost 80 percent of the public and private, elementary and high school teaching force is white (according to a NYTimes article), I may be some of my students’ first English college instructor, who is a woman of color who has an accent. As daunting as this fact is, I’m aware that I must hold myself to a higher standard. I want their learning experience in my class to be a passport to a world of culture and content they may not have seen before. I’m aware that I need to do more to encourage the students to bring in what they know, not just ask them how they learn. Knowing what they know and like to read and do will help me tap into their skills sets and bring more collaborative teaching and learning into the conversation. One way I can incorporate an asset-based approach into my teaching would be to have students read an excerpt of “Learning (Your First Job)” by Robert Leamnson, Ph. D. This reading is the beginning of the process of getting students to think of their own style, and I can guide them to develop the skills they have into what the talents they will need in the future. After reading it, the students would complete a learning style inventory (using an online form) to identify their learning style. Then, they will write (their diagnostic writing) about their learning style(s) and how I can support them to successfully complete the course and make their learning experience more learner-center. The students can openly share multiple modalities of learning and how I use those modes to present course materials and other projects to them. In the end, I hope to provide ample feedback and evaluation of what I observe in their writing and use them as a guide for our continued course discussions and skill-building activities, to support their learning styles.

  17. Jill Strauss

    What are some ways you currently incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed pedagogy into your course?

    I try hard to create community in my classes so that students develop friendships and a sense of belonging in an urban community college with no campus. I encourage them to look to each other for help as I am not the only one with the answers. This encourages the natural leaders to shine and the others to learn by the model. For me, it isn’t any one thing I do but rather, a way of thinking approaching the students and the course as a whole.

    What else might you be able to do to apply asset-based pedagogies in your teaching and your students’ learning?
    I am exploring complimentary ways to writing for students to synthesize and express their learning. My intention and hope is that this will encourage students to write for a purpose and therefore need to revise.

  18. This past semester, I acknowledged the difficulties students may have been experiencing and provided some space from them to discuss. I also have made it a practice to share my class agenda, provide information on campus resources, and practice compassion and positivity with all my students.

    Admittedly, I feel I am lacking in culturally sustaining pedagogy in my course. I still teach theatre from a Eurocentric perspective, which is of course how I was taught. Although I want to break away from this, I do find it intimidating and a bit overwhelming.

  19. CSP: In my Spanish for heritage speakers we acknowledge and value dialectal differences. I remind them that they can transfer their abilities for reading and writing from English into Spanish. Although they all are considered “heritage speakers of Spanish”, we recognize that all may have a different relationship with the language, so all can contribute to class activities. Their personal story is part of the course, so we all learn about each other’s lives.
    We discuss bilingualism, “Spanglish”, the idea of the ideal or native speaker, and other terminology that is used to minoritize or discriminate against bilinguals in the US.

    Trauma-IT: This last semester there were no grammar or written midterm or final exams because they stress the students a lot, rather, they completed worksheets and projects.
    During distance learning, after our zoom meetings, I wrote an announcement with the main points of the meeting and specified again what the next assignments were an where to find them in Bb. Also, students could hand it assignments whenever they completed them, and in the format that was available to them (handwritten, typed; pdf, word, etc.).
    Also, during distance learning due to Covid, I made sure that all assignments had positive feedback, and pointe out what was done well, and made succinct comments of how they could improve.

    Asset-based pedagogies: I don’t know. Is it a semester too short to adapt tasks, assignments and assessments? It wasn’t until the middle of the semester that I got to know my students, and then we went to distance learning. I can modify small or low stake activities as we go, but I am not sure I can modify for each student, although when they work in groups, they contribute differently.

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