Bryan Dewsbury: Sense of place - Developing a culture of inclusion in the natural sciences
Dr. Bryan Dewsbury is the Associate Director of the STEM Transformation Institute at Florida International University. His research program focuses on broad social and equity questions related to discipline-based education research. He conducts faculty development across North America helping institutions of higher education transform their practices toward more equitable outcomes. Bryan joined the Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in March 2022 for this talk: “Sense of place - Developing a culture of inclusion in the natural sciences.”
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[00:00:00.840]Bryan Dewsbury is an Associate Director
[00:00:05.400]at Florida International University.
[00:00:09.690]He's an associate director
[00:00:10.950]of the STEM Transformation Institute,
[00:00:13.080]and he has an exciting research program
[00:00:15.660]that focuses on the broad social and equity questions
[00:00:19.170]related to discipline-based education research.
[00:00:22.530]He conducts faculty development across North America,
[00:00:25.230]helping institutions of higher education
[00:00:27.360]transform their practices towards equitable outcomes.
[00:00:31.440]And we're excited that we get to be a part
[00:00:33.810]of that slate of interactions
[00:00:36.120]that he has with colleagues across North America today.
[00:00:39.930]Bryan has previously worked
[00:00:41.280]with our Center for Transformative Teaching here at UNL
[00:00:44.820]to present a workshop,
[00:00:46.200]and through his connections with our second keynote speaker,
[00:00:49.500]Joe Dauer, it was really exciting for me
[00:00:52.110]to be able to invite Bryan to come back.
[00:00:54.780]And he's actually here on campus
[00:00:56.370]for some engagement over the next few days
[00:00:59.730]with that center and with other colleagues.
[00:01:02.130]As I've viewed several of Bryan's previous talks,
[00:01:04.620]I've been impressed with his ability
[00:01:06.210]to challenge his colleagues
[00:01:07.830]in this space of inclusive education.
[00:01:10.140]And that's why we're here today, to be challenged.
[00:01:12.390]And we're grateful that he's able to join us today
[00:01:15.630]to talk about a sense of place,
[00:01:17.220]developing a culture of inclusion in the natural sciences.
[00:01:20.760]So, Bryan, welcome.
[00:01:23.910]Thank you, thank you, thank you.
[00:01:25.710]Let me just, Locken, can you gimme a thumbs up
[00:01:31.020]that you seen my presentation screen?
[00:01:33.510]Yes, it's perfect, thank you.
[00:01:34.980]Okay, you know, a couple of quick things
[00:01:37.650]before I get started, that was said,
[00:01:39.930]and I'm really happy about, number one,
[00:01:44.430]thanks for the siren warning, 'cause I would've freaked out.
[00:01:49.789](laughs) You may have seen me get up
[00:01:51.150]and run out this office back to the hotel,
[00:01:53.460]anyway, I mean just that I had never experienced it,
[00:01:55.260]but that's good, good to know.
[00:01:57.210]The other thing is just because people who know my work,
[00:02:00.270]and I've had the privilege to engage with
[00:02:03.150]know that a lot of my ask of institutions
[00:02:07.170]is to really engage in systemic change,
[00:02:09.810]not just ask professors to be the heroes on campus.
[00:02:13.110]and to transform their classrooms, yes, we need that.
[00:02:15.390]But we also need, you know, policies and salary structures
[00:02:19.140]and you know, ways of doing business
[00:02:21.750]that situate those professors in a institution
[00:02:24.810]that communicates inclusion from the top down, right.
[00:02:27.840]So quite honestly, just to hear
[00:02:29.820]that you have a teaching dean, kind of warm my heart.
[00:02:32.970]I'm not gonna lie to you, because it's not something I meet
[00:02:36.300]at other universities, right.
[00:02:37.527]And I think even those little things
[00:02:39.870]go a long way to communicate
[00:02:42.510]that you take the active teaching as a scholarly activity,
[00:02:46.410]as something that's central to the university operation.
[00:02:48.630]So I'm glad to hear that.
[00:02:51.900]I'm very excited to talk to this group for a few reasons.
[00:02:56.610]One of them, and I don't even know if I shared this with you
[00:02:58.740]Locken, or Joe, but I came up through the natural sciences.
[00:03:04.440]That was my history.
[00:03:05.430]I left Trinidad as a young man in 1999
[00:03:10.080]to pursue an environmental science degree
[00:03:12.120]because I was affectionately known in high school,
[00:03:15.840]secondary school, they called it in the Caribbean,
[00:03:18.030]as a tree hugger, that was my passion.
[00:03:21.600]And up until the second year of my PhD,
[00:03:27.000]I was, maybe I shouldn't say destined,
[00:03:30.330]but I was aiming for a career in conservation science,
[00:03:34.440]marine conservation science, to be specific.
[00:03:38.400]So up until I pivoted to focusing
[00:03:41.040]on science education research,
[00:03:44.550]I was sort of waist deep in this world
[00:03:47.820]of what it means to be a part of this environment,
[00:03:51.480]what it means to be part of this Earth,
[00:03:52.860]what it means to care for it,
[00:03:54.630]what it means to understand it, and target it.
[00:03:59.650]And I would say many of the lessons
[00:04:01.740]that I learned in that pursuit,
[00:04:03.870]I was able to bring over with me
[00:04:05.700]as I turned my attention, my research attention,
[00:04:08.250]and practice attention to the classroom.
[00:04:11.940]I cannot begin to tell you a story of sense of place
[00:04:17.790]without centering myself in that story.
[00:04:19.860]Maybe not centering myself,
[00:04:21.000]but positioning myself in that story.
[00:04:22.740]Because my growth as an academic
[00:04:27.840]is very much one of understanding place.
[00:04:33.660]What you're looking at is a bench
[00:04:37.770]that is located on the center of campus
[00:04:40.860]of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
[00:04:45.480]I was very fortunate to be awarded a full ride
[00:04:49.290]to attend a historically Black college in 1999.
[00:04:55.380]And sometimes people ask, well, you know,
[00:04:56.910]did you go to Morehouse because
[00:05:00.297]the historical Black experience,
[00:05:02.348]and you know, the sense of community and,
[00:05:04.620]no, no, no, no, no, they gave me a full ride.
[00:05:07.890]This was an economic decision, right.
[00:05:09.840]I was coming from an international situation,
[00:05:13.050]and we were literally just looking at dollar signs
[00:05:15.270]because paying tuition was just not,
[00:05:18.097]it was not on the table, right.
[00:05:20.280]But I had a great time, Morehouse is a great community.
[00:05:23.040]And as you probably know, it's a liberal arts college.
[00:05:26.400]So it didn't really have super specific degrees.
[00:05:29.970]So I was a biology major,
[00:05:31.290]mostly because that's what you defaulted to
[00:05:33.540]if you were interested in that.
[00:05:35.460]During my time there,
[00:05:36.600]they actually developed an environmental studies minor
[00:05:39.240]and I was one of the first people to graduate with one.
[00:05:43.410]But that was, you know, my advisor at the time,
[00:05:45.960]Dr. Lawrence Blumer,
[00:05:47.610]through his kind of sheer will and perseverance
[00:05:49.920]kind of made that happen, right.
[00:05:52.590]Anyway, my parents sat me down on this bench
[00:05:54.990]that you're looking at,
[00:05:57.090]and they looked at their first generation
[00:06:00.930]college student son,
[00:06:03.180]at the end of orientation week, which they stayed for,
[00:06:06.000]which apparently is something first generation parents do.
[00:06:11.347]And they said, Bryan, we've taken you as far as we can.
[00:06:17.700]Good luck. (laughs)
[00:06:21.750]I didn't quite understand at that time
[00:06:25.620]what those words really meant.
[00:06:29.970]And there was a reflection on that, right.
[00:06:32.310]Because I think sometimes we forget
[00:06:39.450]that students who are actually going through the process
[00:06:42.960]of college, of secondary school, or of primary school,
[00:06:46.260]or even graduate school in some cases,
[00:06:49.440]you don't necessarily always have the language
[00:06:51.780]to fully articulate what you're experiencing.
[00:06:56.670]Tell me the last time somebody walked up to you in class
[00:06:59.340]and said, professor, I don't feel a sense of belonging.
[00:07:03.270]Professor, I feel a stereotyped threat.
[00:07:06.900]Professor, according to assimilation theory,
[00:07:10.230]my identity is being absolved into this class.
[00:07:14.820]That's words we use to write our very nice papers
[00:07:18.000]and explain it to our colleagues.
[00:07:20.790]So at that time, right,
[00:07:24.960]I didn't fully understand what it meant for parents
[00:07:28.320]who never were able to either see college or finish college
[00:07:35.040]and make a lot of sacrifices to give their children
[00:07:38.370]an opportunity to take that step.
[00:07:41.880]What it meant to watch them take that step,
[00:07:46.440]but know that you can't help
[00:07:47.910]with the day to day of that experience.
[00:07:50.910]Know that when that first C minus came,
[00:07:53.340]which yes, organic chem, physics, it came,
[00:07:57.168]I mean, it ended up being a C plus, but,
[00:08:00.652]they weren't able to say,
[00:08:05.070]are you applying metacognitive strategies to your studying?
[00:08:10.410]They said, you gave it a shot.
[00:08:14.370]And so whether it's by the grace of God,
[00:08:16.920]whether it's by, you know, some serendipity, some luck,
[00:08:22.860]or definitely by the mentor who took an interest in me,
[00:08:27.840]and figured out that I needed to start asking
[00:08:32.940]some difficult questions to myself about myself.
[00:08:38.280]I made it through somehow, and I know many who didn't.
[00:08:41.430]I know many who in classrooms,
[00:08:44.850]or who had professors,
[00:08:48.120]where you saw your role as just a content matter expert.
[00:08:53.580]And so this idea of teaching the student
[00:08:59.804]was not a way of thinking that they embraced.
[00:09:03.390]And I actually find it surprising
[00:09:04.890]because I have the privilege of running faculty development,
[00:09:08.490]you know, around the country.
[00:09:10.321]And most times when I, not most times,
[00:09:11.820]all the times when I start my workshops,
[00:09:14.070]I always ask the participants,
[00:09:18.330]not what do you want students to know,
[00:09:21.840]not what you want students to be able to do,
[00:09:26.520]who would you like your students to become?
[00:09:29.850]That's the question.
[00:09:32.490]I'm not being dismissive of the chemistry
[00:09:35.550]and the biology and physics, I'm not being dismissive of it.
[00:09:39.840]I'm saying that we really need to ask ourselves
[00:09:41.940]what really matters.
[00:09:43.440]And when I ask them that question,
[00:09:47.340]I'm batting 100% on this one.
[00:09:49.710]Everybody always says things like,
[00:09:52.710]I want them to be informed voters.
[00:09:55.440]I want them to be engaged citizens.
[00:09:58.440]I want them to understand
[00:10:00.060]that they are part of a social contract
[00:10:02.400]where the actions and the choices that they make
[00:10:04.920]have consequences for their brothers and their sisters
[00:10:07.680]and the environment.
[00:10:10.290]To this day, not a single person has said,
[00:10:15.000]in 20 years, I want them to really be able to remember
[00:10:17.700]how DNA replicates.
[00:10:20.250]And tell me the first three enzymes,
[00:10:22.080]or describe predator prey dynamics.
[00:10:24.510]It's not that those things aren't important,
[00:10:28.770]but it's that like deep down
[00:10:30.630]in the better angels of our professors,
[00:10:34.710]we do imagine that society
[00:10:37.290]where we are drawing our tribal lines,
[00:10:39.990]a little bit differently to how we do it now.
[00:10:43.740]But I understand that in the moment,
[00:10:49.860]the Joes of the world, the Jennys of the world,
[00:10:53.070]there are still, I say outliers, right.
[00:10:56.670]And this is not to say that, you know,
[00:10:58.710]everybody else is a bad professor.
[00:11:00.090]This is to say that some of this discussion
[00:11:03.420]about teaching students and not subjects,
[00:11:06.510]and about thinking about inclusion in your classroom
[00:11:08.610]as an explicit thing, and about having a Dean of teaching,
[00:11:12.840]it still seems kind of radical
[00:11:14.550]because we were all brought up in this world
[00:11:16.830]where to be a professor
[00:11:18.240]meant you had to be a subject matter expert, right.
[00:11:21.810]And I don't disbelieve that,
[00:11:23.520]I do believe in subject matter expertise,
[00:11:26.130]but the conversation sort of ended at that point, right.
[00:11:29.487]And so therefore the value
[00:11:31.260]around what you did in the classroom
[00:11:32.820]was all about how much you can profess.
[00:11:35.310]This is very much a post World War II
[00:11:38.430]research university model,
[00:11:39.990]where the universities became a knowledge generation machine
[00:11:45.120]and less about cultivating the individual.
[00:11:49.620]And it's both sad and maybe a little surprising
[00:11:55.110]because universities like ours, like University of Nebraska
[00:11:58.380]and University of Rhode Island where I was up to a year ago,
[00:12:02.730]we come from the Land Grant mission.
[00:12:06.360]And if you read the original Morrill Act,
[00:12:09.510]it will talk about expanding education
[00:12:13.080]for those who need it.
[00:12:16.140]The Morrill Act was all about equity in its original form.
[00:12:21.270]Yes, eventually everybody had to go chasing
[00:12:23.340]after the same wild rabbit,
[00:12:26.430]but I don't fault today's professors
[00:12:29.220]because until we start having graduate programs
[00:12:34.200]that explicitly prepare people to teach in a classroom
[00:12:38.910]with skills, with certification,
[00:12:40.680]with practice, with mentorship, and not just saying,
[00:12:45.600]spend six years studying the left half of this leaf,
[00:12:49.320]publish three papers on it,
[00:12:50.550]and then we'll give you a classroom.
[00:12:53.160]Then we'll always be having this conversation
[00:12:55.140]on the back end.
[00:12:58.650]So I was brought up in that same model.
[00:13:04.170]I went to, you know,
[00:13:05.220]I went to Morehouse College and had a great time.
[00:13:07.350]My advisor at the time said, you know, Bryan,
[00:13:10.050]if you really wanna get into environmental science,
[00:13:12.360]you really, you should spend some time
[00:13:14.970]learning how the environment works
[00:13:16.800]and from an ecological perspective.
[00:13:18.540]And so with his support and advice,
[00:13:20.760]I went on to graduate school
[00:13:22.050]at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
[00:13:25.470]And I remember being told that
[00:13:30.270]by more than one professor, in fact,
[00:13:33.900]that in order to be successful in graduate school,
[00:13:37.320]you need to avoid teaching as much as you can.
[00:13:41.640]This was explicit advice, this wasn't implied, right.
[00:13:46.320]And for my master's degree, I did,
[00:13:49.080]I was in an RA-ship initially.
[00:13:51.240]And then when I returned to do a PhD,
[00:13:55.560]I took a year off, and returned to do a PhD.
[00:13:59.220]You have to TA for at least a year,
[00:14:00.630]but the funding was such that I was on a TA-ship, right.
[00:14:04.140]So I quote unquote, "was forced to teach"
[00:14:06.090]because of the funding structure.
[00:14:09.630]And as much as I loved my research,
[00:14:15.480]I did a lot of sea grass ecology research.
[00:14:18.840]It was a bit more broad
[00:14:19.830]because I was comparing sea grass ecosystems
[00:14:21.960]to pine rocklands ecosystems.
[00:14:23.250]Which in case you don't know it,
[00:14:25.140]beautiful high ground ecosystems in South Florida
[00:14:29.160]that are very dry and are controlled by fire.
[00:14:32.670]And I was doing this really interesting,
[00:14:34.260]interesting to me at least,
[00:14:35.820]comparison between a terrestrial system and a marine system.
[00:14:39.180]6,000 dives in sea grass beds,
[00:14:42.030]lots of hiking in the Everglades.
[00:14:43.410]I had a great time doing the science of my PhD,
[00:14:48.750]but when I walk into that class and had my first semester,
[00:14:53.460]which I think of as a baptism of fire,
[00:14:55.410]because I really wasn't trained to do it.
[00:14:57.180]And I think I was God awful, everything changes in my life.
[00:15:04.273]And I think it sounds, I guess,
[00:15:06.630]a little cheesy to say that in a talk,
[00:15:08.490]but there's honestly no other way to describe it.
[00:15:11.660]It was in fact a road to the Master's moment.
[00:15:13.920]And I don't say that lightly,
[00:15:15.210]because there are a lot of people in my life,
[00:15:18.690]a lot of people out there who do jobs
[00:15:20.310]that they like a lot, that they love a lot, even.
[00:15:24.750]I view my relationship
[00:15:26.880]with the classroom and with education,
[00:15:29.100]not just science education, but with education,
[00:15:31.620]as a calling.
[00:15:33.720]And the reason why we use the word calling
[00:15:35.700]is because a calling is something that you respond to.
[00:15:38.910]A job is something that you do.
[00:15:41.190]Your job can be your calling,
[00:15:43.200]but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way.
[00:15:45.990]So when you get into that space, and you're thinking about
[00:15:48.990]the students who are gonna be impacted by this,
[00:15:54.120]you're responding to something
[00:15:55.470]that's greater than a paycheck, than a title,
[00:15:58.500]than promotion strategies and all that stuff.
[00:16:00.360]I'm not saying those things don't matter,
[00:16:02.760]but I'm saying that's not what drives it.
[00:16:05.671]And that came from TA,
[00:16:11.280]being a TA for a lab class, right.
[00:16:16.980]And I remind you, I had no training, right.
[00:16:19.950]And literally got read the don't spill the chemicals,
[00:16:23.400]don't sleep with your students, you'll be fine, right.
[00:16:25.920]That was the training, right.
[00:16:27.510]And as somebody who's married to a first grade teacher,
[00:16:31.560]undergrad degree in education,
[00:16:33.060]two years Teacher For America apprenticeship.
[00:16:35.250]Even when we moved to New England to Massachusetts,
[00:16:38.400]there's a whole year, you are kind of on,
[00:16:41.040]I forgot the term they use, but there's a bunch of steps.
[00:16:45.450]Because not any and anybody can just walk into this place
[00:16:49.290]and start talking about stuff.
[00:16:51.810]It's not about just teaching subject and teaching material,
[00:16:54.960]it's about teaching students.
[00:16:57.060]There's a distinction between those two statements.
[00:17:00.180]So when I was a TA, financial bio class,
[00:17:04.740]the way these things work for those of you who are TAs,
[00:17:07.230]especially at the intro levels, well,
[00:17:08.970]even the upper division levels too, right.
[00:17:11.330]When you run these experiments, there's a lot of downtime.
[00:17:14.529]And you know, you run a PCR gel,
[00:17:16.110]you're collecting samples or whatever.
[00:17:18.150]And, you know, I walk around and I talk to them,
[00:17:21.720]just general things, maybe about the class or other things.
[00:17:26.040]And it so happened that a lot of my students were pre-med
[00:17:32.520]surprise there, right.
[00:17:34.710]And it was interesting
[00:17:38.160]because it was infuriating to the faculty
[00:17:42.900]that they had to teach all these pre-med students.
[00:17:47.114]And the language that used to come out of faculty was,
[00:17:52.590]you know, they just have no appreciation for science, right.
[00:17:56.820]Why don't they find this catecoli study in Brazil
[00:18:01.830]as interesting as I do, right.
[00:18:04.956]And of course, you know,
[00:18:06.840]not everybody might go into med school
[00:18:08.250]or some people might change their mind.
[00:18:09.690]And there was a little bit of a dismissiveness, I find,
[00:18:13.380]or pejorativeness when they would talk about the students
[00:18:15.720]and their med school ambitions.
[00:18:18.120]So I asked, I would ask them, well, why medicine?
[00:18:23.520]And, you know, you would go through the list of things.
[00:18:27.390]One thing is, you know, I always wanted to help people.
[00:18:30.930]All right, well, you could help people a hundred ways.
[00:18:33.020]So okay, what else you got?
[00:18:34.290]Well, you know, I grew up going to doctors,
[00:18:36.000]but you also grew up going to the grocery, right.
[00:18:37.680]So, I mean, I could easily debunk
[00:18:39.480]the first two or three or four reasons.
[00:18:42.300]And then we would get to things like,
[00:18:47.670]but my grandmother said, but my uncle said,
[00:18:50.280]but my aunt said.
[00:18:54.330]You see, what was happening my friends
[00:18:56.070]is that I was teaching a lot of first generation Americans.
[00:19:01.500]If you didn't know, Miami's this city
[00:19:04.830]very much shaped by immigration patterns
[00:19:06.930]from South and Central America.
[00:19:10.410]And for many of these families,
[00:19:12.840]and I'm not making any judgment, neither here nor there,
[00:19:15.210]I'm just telling you, you know,
[00:19:16.740]how the history has played out in the city.
[00:19:19.920]For many of these families,
[00:19:21.150]these children are the first ones
[00:19:23.880]who were born in American soil.
[00:19:27.210]Some were actually not born in American soil.
[00:19:30.330]And a calculation was made, whether correct or not correct,
[00:19:35.490]that to get to the American middle class,
[00:19:38.970]you need to pursue one of three jobs,
[00:19:43.080]which were in this order, medicine, law, and engineering.
[00:19:48.510]Why engineering came to it, I don't know, but it did.
[00:19:53.160]Any natural science career didn't even make the list, right.
[00:19:58.470]So I remember I used to have these funny conversations
[00:20:02.250]with, well, some of the students about, you know,
[00:20:06.207]have you thought about going into research?
[00:20:07.939]And they would just, they would literally look at you
[00:20:09.575]and say, oh, what's that?
[00:20:10.950]I think, well, you know, I'm a grad student.
[00:20:12.480]And you know, that's when we not teaching,
[00:20:14.820]we have labs and et cetera, et cetera.
[00:20:16.560]And then they would say things like,
[00:20:18.690]but don't, you all like go around campus
[00:20:20.550]looking for all the free bagels, 'cause you have no money?
[00:20:23.919]It's like, okay, it's not gonna be like that all the time.
[00:20:25.680]So you hearing them articulate what they're seeing
[00:20:30.060]as a useful career, what goes into that choice.
[00:20:35.580]And because, and remember these are young children, right.
[00:20:37.590]17, 18, 19, and you have whole families telling them
[00:20:41.700]that you have to make a particular choice of career.
[00:20:44.880]So you may not necessarily have the agency at that point
[00:20:48.090]to say, no, no, no, I'm at a time in my life
[00:20:50.760]where I need to explore what I want to do.
[00:20:53.294]I need to see what moves me.
[00:20:55.290]When you have a lot of people riding on you being successful
[00:20:59.340]in that particular journey.
[00:21:01.800]So then the class became, not this scientific journey,
[00:21:06.900]not this, you know, let's talk about the beauty of life.
[00:21:11.070]It became a purely utilitarian experience.
[00:21:14.520]I need a grade, a particular grade
[00:21:18.000]that will factor into a particular GPA
[00:21:20.280]that will get me to the place I really need to go.
[00:21:24.690]And so once you realize that,
[00:21:28.320]you realize that before I could get you really excited
[00:21:32.400]about the Krebs cycle,
[00:21:35.820]or about erosion in the Amazon,
[00:21:41.430]I had to fully deconstruct
[00:21:43.170]what being in a science classroom could mean.
[00:21:46.710]I had to attend to all of the social forces
[00:21:50.700]that was impacting your vision of that space.
[00:21:56.700]I had to create a different kind of sense of place for you
[00:22:01.980]in the classroom that I was teaching.
[00:22:04.320]Because if I didn't, all the clickers in the world,
[00:22:08.130]all the active learning in the world,
[00:22:10.080]all the colorful diagram, didn't matter.
[00:22:15.360]Why, because as Elizabeth Moje said in 1996,
[00:22:21.367]"Reading Quarterly" paper,
[00:22:23.647]"I don't teach subjects, I teach students."
[00:22:29.730]So a few years ago when I wrote this up,
[00:22:33.240]not necessarily just about that class.
[00:22:35.160]I did use that class as an example,
[00:22:36.870]but this was more of a kind of
[00:22:39.420]theoretical philosophical paper outlining this vision.
[00:22:43.620]And part of the frustration
[00:22:47.100]that drove the writing of this piece
[00:22:50.340]was the need, I think, my field
[00:22:53.610]and perhaps many science education fields,
[00:22:57.810]or teaching at the higher ed level,
[00:23:02.880]frustration that we needed to go back
[00:23:05.190]and read and listen to people in our history
[00:23:09.750]who have been trying to make this case
[00:23:11.850]for literally a century.
[00:23:14.490]Inclusive teaching is not new, it's not new.
[00:23:17.010]We didn't, I mean, we just started to use the term,
[00:23:20.937]and it just started to become a thing.
[00:23:21.770]And I'm glad, I'm glad, that's good for the society.
[00:23:24.030]That's good for our classrooms.
[00:23:26.790]But let's not get it twisted, it's not new.
[00:23:30.060]Let's talk about Carter G. Woodson.
[00:23:31.650]Let's talk about Sylvia Wynter.
[00:23:33.240]Let's talk about Paolo Freire, Myles Horton,
[00:23:36.960]people who looked at at how education systems were set up
[00:23:42.900]and were trying to make the case, as John Dewey said,
[00:23:46.118]that education is not preparation for life,
[00:23:48.090]education should be life itself.
[00:23:51.660]So how you behave, how you construct your classroom,
[00:23:54.180]what you talk about, whose knowledge you privilege,
[00:23:58.350]all of that is not disconnected from the equity or inequity
[00:24:03.510]that happens outside the classroom and outside the campus.
[00:24:07.470]So the paper was meant to hopefully recentralize
[00:24:10.080]some of those voices, that quite frankly,
[00:24:11.910]I think we either forgotten or ignored,
[00:24:15.300]and I'm not gonna go into too much detail
[00:24:18.600]about the right half of this model today,
[00:24:20.550]but I wanna take this notion of inclusive teaching and place
[00:24:27.960]and just make three quick points today.
[00:24:30.060]And one is about thinking about place, culture, and respect.
[00:24:36.480]Thinking about place, history,
[00:24:39.910]and the impact of that history.
[00:24:43.020]And then transitioning into sense of belonging
[00:24:48.030]and how we can talk about place in the current time.
[00:24:59.070]I was born and raised in Trinidad,
[00:25:03.300]and we were discovered? (laughs)
[00:25:14.610]By Christopher Columbus in 1492.
[00:25:18.090]And in fact, the name Trinidad comes from the fact
[00:25:20.160]that he approached the island from the bottom part.
[00:25:25.230]And on the bottom left part there's these three hills
[00:25:27.030]that apparently he said, according to historians,
[00:25:29.370]looked like, you know, I don't know,
[00:25:32.220]it reminded him of the Trinity from the Catholic church,
[00:25:35.400]holy Trinity, father, son, and holy spirit.
[00:25:38.820]And hence we got the name Trinidad.
[00:25:42.180]And you know, I grew up reading,
[00:25:48.360]being told in my history classes
[00:25:50.070]as a primary and secondary school student
[00:25:52.020]that he discovered the country, right.
[00:25:56.027]And we also talked about the Indigenous communities
[00:25:58.320]that were there before,
[00:25:59.190]but in ways that assumed
[00:26:05.040]that they just didn't outlast time.
[00:26:08.340]I'll just put it that way, right.
[00:26:12.058]And you know, there's similar stories in, you know,
[00:26:16.410]when I kind of think many, many, many years later
[00:26:18.810]when I'm a professor at University of Rhode Island,
[00:26:22.470]where the story of the Wampanoag,
[00:26:26.220]which some of you may know,
[00:26:29.340]relatively famous because of their role
[00:26:31.200]in how we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US,
[00:26:36.570]and also for your relationship, they had, oh my God,
[00:26:42.450]his name is blanking me, but he found out Rhode Island,
[00:26:44.490]I dunno why his name is blank.
[00:26:46.110]But for a long time, he lived like in peace
[00:26:48.180]with them until there was a big war, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:26:51.960]And like so many parts of the US that history was ignored,
[00:26:57.090]not respected, and not taught.
[00:27:02.850]So there are people who come and they live
[00:27:07.440]in New England for years and years and years,
[00:27:11.640]and have no idea that the Wampanoag actually still exist.
[00:27:17.970]And one of the things I was really proud of URI,
[00:27:21.210]at least in the last three years I was there,
[00:27:23.040]was the efforts they were making to make it right.
[00:27:28.926]And that's a slippery slope.
[00:27:32.610]Not in a bad way, but just give them history.
[00:27:35.910]What does make it right mean with our Indigenous community
[00:27:38.880]is perhaps its own conference.
[00:27:43.320]But while land acknowledgements are good,
[00:27:48.030]there perhaps need to be things we need to do beyond that.
[00:27:52.985]And I'm not being dismissive of land acknowledgements,
[00:27:55.860]because that's definitely a worthy,
[00:28:01.350]that's definitely a first step that needs to happen.
[00:28:06.218]So part of the culture of history and respect
[00:28:11.940]is when we talk about the environment,
[00:28:16.350]when we talk about the places that we study,
[00:28:18.854]or the places that we live,
[00:28:21.390]we have to be very, very, very attentive
[00:28:25.260]to telling the whole story.
[00:28:29.190]Even the parts of it that may feel dark,
[00:28:32.610]even the parts of it, where we are complicit in the evil,
[00:28:36.750]even the parts of it, where we still have some work to do
[00:28:40.650]to address the inequities
[00:28:42.210]that we've perpetuated for years and years and years.
[00:28:45.657]And I'll just give you another quick kind of side story
[00:28:48.836]with New England history.
[00:28:53.400]I lived in Providence, which if you've been to New England,
[00:28:55.860]is the gap toe.
[00:28:57.270]And it's a not very big state.
[00:29:01.410]It's funny, because people there seem to think otherwise.
[00:29:04.680]Like you could trip and fall and land in Connecticut.
[00:29:06.570]I mean, it is really that small, right.
[00:29:11.317]And about 20 minutes from my house,
[00:29:13.530]there's a town called Warren, Rhode Island.
[00:29:16.890]Where I believe 90% of the ships
[00:29:19.350]used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade were built.
[00:29:24.660]And there was a famous family called the DeWolf family
[00:29:26.700]who lived next door in Bristol, Rhode Island.
[00:29:29.730]That owned that and owned a plantation in Cuba,
[00:29:32.220]owned a distillery in Virginia.
[00:29:36.330]And it's amazing to me that only literally four years ago
[00:29:41.970]that at the DeWolf museum in Bristol,
[00:29:45.360]that that story is only beginning to be told.
[00:29:51.840]We have a little bit of an aversion to it.
[00:29:55.253]And I don't want to absolve people here,
[00:29:58.680]but on one hand, I get it a little bit
[00:30:00.900]because sometimes when these things brought up,
[00:30:03.900]maybe the human reaction is
[00:30:05.970]you feel people coming at you, people, you know,
[00:30:08.790]because you might identify ethnically
[00:30:11.310]with the perpetrators in the historical story.
[00:30:14.280]You think that discussing it
[00:30:16.110]is somehow on affront on you yourself.
[00:30:19.620]I get it on some level, I get it.
[00:30:24.081]But I also want us to have the courage and the bravery
[00:30:26.220]to move past that and acknowledge our oblivion,
[00:30:30.330]and the fact that it wasn't embedded in the history
[00:30:32.640]that you learned in the textbooks that you were shown
[00:30:34.650]and the cinema and the media, sorry,
[00:30:38.010]the modalities that you might have been exposed to,
[00:30:41.820]but it doesn't make it any less true.
[00:30:45.840]And then once you get past that, you can start to explore
[00:30:50.910]what the impacts of those things
[00:30:52.920]might still have in the present day.
[00:30:54.840]What responsibility do we have?
[00:30:57.720]Not just in our own personal knowledge,
[00:31:00.630]but in how we teach and talk about the natural environment
[00:31:03.450]in our classrooms.
[00:31:07.470]If you go to Miami, Florida today, which I will on Friday,
[00:31:12.570]'cause that's where I live now,
[00:31:15.120]just south of the city, there are two islands,
[00:31:18.780]one's called Virginia Key, one's called Key Biscayne.
[00:31:22.950]And they're connected to the city by bridges.
[00:31:28.200]And if you go to the, I think the,
[00:31:33.750]maybe about 10 minutes once you get onto Virginia Keys,
[00:31:36.870]right opposite actually,
[00:31:38.970]University of Miami has a marine school on the right,
[00:31:41.730]and directly on the left,
[00:31:43.650]there's a road that goes through mangroves
[00:31:45.240]and take you to a beautiful beach.
[00:31:48.930]And that's the beach you're looking at in this sign,
[00:31:51.450]Virginia Key Beach.
[00:31:53.820]And I give the city of Miami a lot of credit.
[00:31:55.440]They're actually gonna spend tens of millions
[00:31:58.151]to build a museum, talk about it's history,
[00:32:01.140]as a segregated beach.
[00:32:04.830]Do you know that if you go there today,
[00:32:06.420]you will still actually see mostly black people?
[00:32:09.450]It's not segregated anymore, right, obviously it's not,
[00:32:16.742]but somehow these things
[00:32:20.970]get passed on implicitly through generations.
[00:32:25.500]And it's important for us to reflect on this point because,
[00:32:31.620]a lot of times I get the question, you know, Bryan,
[00:32:33.510]how do I get, how do we get people of color?
[00:32:35.820]How do you get students of color
[00:32:37.230]more interested in marine science or in natural sciences
[00:32:41.160]or in outdoors, or like coming to national parks?
[00:32:46.620]What sense do you have that they believe those places
[00:32:50.400]are places that are meant for their access,
[00:32:52.530]even in 2022, right.
[00:32:55.530]Even in 2022, when much of the south Florida coastline
[00:32:59.280]is occupied by wealth and high rises and paid for access.
[00:33:07.644]And you grew up hearing stories
[00:33:08.820]of when the only place you could legally access,
[00:33:12.630]at least at that time, was this one beach.
[00:33:17.790]Sometimes it's hard to simply dissolve
[00:33:21.690]that thing you internalized.
[00:33:24.480]That results in patterns that you still see today.
[00:33:27.060]And we see a similar story with redlining.
[00:33:31.050]And this is not just splitting hairs, right.
[00:33:34.080]Redlining, the process by which
[00:33:37.582]a board commissioned by the federal government
[00:33:39.180]label neighborhoods based on desirability for lending.
[00:33:44.850]Basically segmented cities in the US,
[00:33:47.640]providing some with loans and some without.
[00:33:52.020]This began in 1930s, it ended around 1968,
[00:33:55.770]at least legally ended with the Fair Housing Act.
[00:33:59.910]many, many, many, many years after that.
[00:34:02.040]Rhode Island actually just settled a case in 2014.
[00:34:06.990]So it's no surprise
[00:34:11.280]that a policy that was enacted in the 1930s
[00:34:15.510]still has health impacts.
[00:34:20.760]It still has economic impacts.
[00:34:24.180]Even though after some really, really cool work,
[00:34:26.280]it still has impacts on how the environment is structured.
[00:34:31.380]So just to, you know, bring this down
[00:34:34.980]to the reality of what a student might experience.
[00:34:39.480]One of the classes I teach,
[00:34:41.280]which is honestly my favorite class, intro bio,
[00:34:43.770]it's just intro STEM is just great.
[00:34:46.470]To me is a responsibility to get into college,
[00:34:50.040]and this is the class that's gonna get them excited
[00:34:52.200]about the meaning of biology in their lives,
[00:34:54.990]whether they go on to do biology as a profession or not.
[00:34:57.600]So to me, intro bio is more about the intro than the bio.
[00:35:01.230]And the class is set up, my talk
[00:35:05.100]I gave to UNL you know, many, many months ago,
[00:35:08.490]I talked more detail about that class
[00:35:10.260]and the things to do in that class, right.
[00:35:13.303]But the class is very much set up
[00:35:15.090]to almost reinvent their sense of place, right.
[00:35:18.330]To have them watch the discipline of biology
[00:35:21.030]and say, this is a place where I belong
[00:35:22.980]and I can thrive and I can be part of it.
[00:35:25.470]So part of that reinvention process
[00:35:27.780]is me trying to get to know them
[00:35:29.460]and get to know their history and what they've experienced,
[00:35:32.190]their views of science.
[00:35:34.710]Would you believe in a tiny state like Rhode Island
[00:35:36.810]with only 1.2 million people,
[00:35:39.390]where the distance between URI and Providence
[00:35:42.600]is about 35 minutes.
[00:35:45.990]Many of my students of color
[00:35:47.400]would tell me that coming to campus
[00:35:49.710]was the first time they saw that many white people
[00:35:52.200]in one space in real life.
[00:35:57.690]And I know those communities, 'cause I lived near them.
[00:36:01.860]And if you read David Nowak's work about tree cover,
[00:36:05.670]heat maps, vegetation, even species richness,
[00:36:14.280]in redline communities versus non redline communities.
[00:36:16.830]Again, a hundred years ago, what they are seeing,
[00:36:23.310]what they are being exposed to as a natural environment
[00:36:27.480]might be just a little bit different to what some of us are.
[00:36:32.220]So in order to get them excited about it,
[00:36:37.620]we have to be, we have to first understand that history,
[00:36:40.740]understand how that history impacts the mentality,
[00:36:44.580]and be a bit more intentional and explicit
[00:36:48.270]in how we reshape their view of it.
[00:36:50.460]So I'm gonna skip this slide,
[00:36:53.460]'cause I think it'll take too long,
[00:36:54.840]but I was gonna talk a little bit about
[00:36:56.190]what we do in intro bio,
[00:36:58.223]but maybe it'll come up in Q&A.
[00:37:01.080]So I'll transition to me a little bit,
[00:37:03.870]and talk a little bit about sense of belonging
[00:37:09.060]and maybe use my example as a story.
[00:37:10.890]And I'm using my example because I honestly consider myself
[00:37:14.820]a very, very privileged person, right.
[00:37:18.150]I am a first generation college student,
[00:37:20.460]and I look back on my life and I see a lot of luck.
[00:37:24.480]I see a lot of people who sacrifice for me.
[00:37:28.740]I see a lot of people who took time
[00:37:31.110]to invest in me as a person
[00:37:32.670]and not just as a student with an ID number.
[00:37:35.430]And so part of the teaching as a calling
[00:37:38.430]is paying that forward,
[00:37:40.440]and knowing that whoever's in front of me,
[00:37:42.120]however you identify,
[00:37:43.620]is somebody to whom I have a responsibility.
[00:37:46.890]And also since having spent half of my life in Trinidad,
[00:37:51.210]and now I guess a little bit more than half of my life here,
[00:37:56.400]I've experienced belonging in very different ways, right.
[00:38:00.450]If you ask me where I'm from, I will still say Trinidad.
[00:38:05.190]I mean, that's the place where I feel most myself,
[00:38:09.150]even though I'm in a interracial marriage,
[00:38:11.490]and you know, my kids are born here and everything,
[00:38:14.520]and I don't regret any of that.
[00:38:16.920]I just, this is just a lifelong navigation for me.
[00:38:22.800]But I think also with that is I lived a good part of my life
[00:38:27.840]not really having to worry about access, you know,
[00:38:32.610]worry if, you know, being a part of science
[00:38:38.100]is something for me or not like that.
[00:38:40.934]I mean, that was not a thing growing up in Trinidad
[00:38:42.060]to be worried about that.
[00:38:44.070]So when I came to America and started to have experiences,
[00:38:52.020]let me put it this way.
[00:38:55.410]When I had racist experiences,
[00:38:58.710]I actually wouldn't get upset, I would be confused.
[00:39:02.970]Because I couldn't understand like why in certain situations
[00:39:07.230]people might say certain things.
[00:39:09.300]And part of it was just my own naivety, right.
[00:39:11.400]I didn't grow up here, so like I'm not,
[00:39:15.961]I'm not, my social radar is not set
[00:39:18.120]to expect that such and such might happen, right.
[00:39:20.820]So I'll give you an example.
[00:39:22.890]When I was a grad student, I worked with,
[00:39:25.260]I volunteered with an organization
[00:39:26.940]that planted trees in the backyards of people
[00:39:33.000]who were either disabled or were elderly,
[00:39:36.180]or basically couldn't do, you know, yard work.
[00:39:39.180]And if you'll read David Nowak's work about, you know,
[00:39:43.050]ecosystem structure in some of these communities
[00:39:47.400]versus say, more wealthier communities,
[00:39:49.170]you'd would understand why
[00:39:50.910]I thought it was a kind of a worthy venture.
[00:39:54.270]And for those of you who don't know Miami soil,
[00:39:57.180]it's not easy, right.
[00:39:59.220]You don't have to go very far down before you hit limestone.
[00:40:02.070]So if you're doing some planting,
[00:40:03.390]especially the nearer you are to the city of Miami,
[00:40:06.690]it is hard work, right.
[00:40:08.730]You'll be chopping through some rocks in some cases.
[00:40:13.440]So we did that.
[00:40:14.670]So the way it was, was I dunno, 15 of us,
[00:40:16.440]and it divided us into smaller groups of three.
[00:40:20.520]And each group had a team leader.
[00:40:23.670]And we did this for like two to three hours, right.
[00:40:27.780]In Miami heat all morning.
[00:40:31.410]And at the end of the morning,
[00:40:33.660]the team leader was thanking me and my other people
[00:40:38.280]on the team for help, thanks for joining us or whatever.
[00:40:43.110]And she turns to walk away,
[00:40:46.560]and then in two seconds she spins back
[00:40:50.100]and she looks at me and says, oh, I forgot.
[00:40:54.150]Did you need community service hours for this?
[00:40:58.860]So hold, I'm confused.
[00:41:00.090]I'm like, why, what are you even talking about?
[00:41:04.290]Which actually, I think I literally said that to her,
[00:41:06.420]like, what are you talking about?
[00:41:07.410]She's like, oh, I thought this was like, you know,
[00:41:09.657]for some crime where you have to do community service hours.
[00:41:12.390]So I look at the other two people with me,
[00:41:15.267]and of course it's now becomes obvious.
[00:41:16.890]Well, that wasn't the case.
[00:41:18.660]And B, why did you turn to me and ask that?
[00:41:23.414]And I look, I don't know if it's a personality trait.
[00:41:28.710]I don't know if I'm just like an internal optimist
[00:41:31.530]or what it is.
[00:41:34.397]It is certainly unfortunate that that happened.
[00:41:37.680]I'm not mad, I'm not broken, I'm not bitter.
[00:41:40.770]I live a fine life.
[00:41:42.180]I went ahead and pursued my dreams regardless, right.
[00:41:45.840]But I'm also very aware that not everybody
[00:41:50.220]would walk away from those situations
[00:41:52.320]in the way Bryan would,
[00:41:53.970]I'm not saying I ignore it.
[00:41:55.290]I'm not saying I absolve those people of guilt, right.
[00:41:58.320]I certainly try in my professional life
[00:42:01.020]to create the kind of educational environment
[00:42:04.320]where everybody sees each other in a different way,
[00:42:07.500]and say, I have been seen in some situations,
[00:42:10.590]I wish I could tell you that was the only time
[00:42:12.360]something like that happened, right.
[00:42:15.420]But I also feel some privilege
[00:42:16.920]that maybe because half my life,
[00:42:18.900]I didn't have to deal with that,
[00:42:21.150]I have a bit more resilience, protection,
[00:42:24.900]whatever word you wanna use here.
[00:42:26.760]So that when it happens, it doesn't break me.
[00:42:30.240]But it also makes me recognize
[00:42:31.830]that a lot of other people who look like me
[00:42:35.160]or maybe look differently, or however else,
[00:42:38.610]they can experience a fourth of what I experienced
[00:42:42.300]and say, you know what?
[00:42:45.210]This is not a space that I know, right.
[00:42:47.730]And you see, the thing that all, sorry, a space for me.
[00:42:51.480]And the thing that gets me,
[00:42:54.210]is that in most of the situations,
[00:42:58.110]nobody was attempting to be me.
[00:43:01.031]Everybody actually thought they were doing a good thing.
[00:43:05.028]By asking that question, was it naive and oblivious?
[00:43:08.970]But nobody was coming at me as,
[00:43:11.070]oh, you don't belong here
[00:43:12.060]and saying those kinds of words, no.
[00:43:14.700]So when you are the default, you often may not realize
[00:43:22.530]how the simple ways you view and respond to and treat people
[00:43:27.540]who are different in that space
[00:43:30.150]can perpetuate the exclusion that has happened for so long.
[00:43:34.890]This is why we have to do some work.
[00:43:41.520]This is my,
[00:43:43.230]I feel like everybody has to have like a happy place.
[00:43:49.897]I mean, we can have more than one, right.
[00:43:51.120]But I mean like a happy physical place,
[00:43:53.023]a place that when you go, your body just stops
[00:43:59.040]and it knows that you're on a pause.
[00:44:05.340]That your blood pressure comes down,
[00:44:08.520]and then you inhale whatever's around you,
[00:44:13.654]and you're quintessentially in the best company
[00:44:16.890]that you can imagine, which is yourself and that place.
[00:44:22.290]And I talk about being privileged,
[00:44:26.850]and I think part of that privilege
[00:44:28.410]was growing up in a country where the natural environment
[00:44:34.650]was part of who you were.
[00:44:38.880]You didn't grow up to say study it and all of that stuff,
[00:44:41.490]like in a scientific sense, but you know,
[00:44:44.820]going to the coastline, going through the mountains,
[00:44:48.270]you know, Maracas Beach is one of those beaches.
[00:44:51.330]If you ever go to Trinidad, you really should go.
[00:44:53.160]I mean, because it's, you know,
[00:44:54.120]you're looking at the beach kind of
[00:44:56.853]from on top of a mountain. So if you on the beach itself,
[00:44:58.920]there's a mountain range behind it.
[00:45:00.870]So you have like the mountain range,
[00:45:02.400]and then the beach next to each other.
[00:45:04.020]I mean, it's something else.
[00:45:07.080]But I put this picture just so I could
[00:45:09.630]have a happy face at the end of my talk,
[00:45:11.280]but also to make the point
[00:45:14.700]that I grew up with the natural environment
[00:45:20.550]being very much a part of my sense of place.
[00:45:24.600]So I had no question when I was coming to America
[00:45:27.090]to do higher education, that this is what I wanted to study,
[00:45:31.410]and this is what I wanted to contribute to in my adult life.
[00:45:36.300]And I guess I just sort of assumed
[00:45:40.680]that anybody who cared about the environment
[00:45:45.510]wouldn't have any psychological obstacles
[00:45:47.940]to feeling that way.
[00:45:50.820]And I wish American history was different, but it's not.
[00:45:55.050]And part of our workers in inclusive teaching is not,
[00:45:59.010]not just to figure out how to make good groups
[00:46:01.080]and how to have clickers and how to, you know,
[00:46:06.180]do different kinds of grading patterns.
[00:46:08.700]I'm with all of that.
[00:46:10.500]But before that comes,
[00:46:14.310]ask students to what and to where
[00:46:18.720]they feel a sense of belonging.
[00:46:21.480]Take a look back through history,
[00:46:23.040]and see the different ways
[00:46:24.240]in which we've decided as a country
[00:46:27.990]who gets to claim spaces, and where and why.
[00:46:32.340]And take a look at present times
[00:46:33.900]and see what we've done to create a corrective for that
[00:46:37.680]and what we still need to do.
[00:46:40.560]Because before all these strategies begin,
[00:46:44.310]if it's not done within that historical context,
[00:46:46.740]without that knowledge, then could feel very performative.
[00:46:51.720]So when I get a chance to talk to universities
[00:46:53.640]and classrooms and professors like yourself
[00:46:55.620]who are really interested in this,
[00:46:57.990]yes, I am very much in.
[00:47:02.370]When I run workshops, it's very much strategy based,
[00:47:04.860]and everybody picks a strategy
[00:47:07.380]and they design something they're gonna do in their class
[00:47:09.822]and in next semester, and we do all of that stuff.
[00:47:13.380]But before we get the strategies, we take 10 steps back
[00:47:19.200]and we ask people,
[00:47:20.250]what do you know about the history of your classroom,
[00:47:22.920]the history of your students, and your own history?
[00:47:27.240]Because if education is about enlightenment,
[00:47:29.910]if education is about teaching students
[00:47:31.560]and not just subjects,
[00:47:33.090]that my friends is a very humanistic endeavor.
[00:47:36.930]And not just, I am a subject matter expert.
[00:47:40.680]So if it's a humanistic endeavor,
[00:47:42.960]then we have to understand the humans involved.
[00:47:47.100]I wanna close by sharing with you
[00:47:51.690]a highlight from a project that I've been working on
[00:47:54.330]over the last year with a wonderful colleague,
[00:47:57.300]Dr. Kayon Murray-Johnson,
[00:47:58.620]and we, with some Howard Hughes Medical Institute support,
[00:48:02.250]we are creating a massive online class
[00:48:05.160]called education for freedom.
[00:48:10.260]And in that course, you know, we go through several modules
[00:48:15.390]on motivation theory and strategies and you know, history,
[00:48:18.690]and, you know, a lot of what I shared with you today,
[00:48:20.310]but obviously a lot more,
[00:48:22.020]but we wanted the course to really reflect the spirit
[00:48:25.710]and the energy and the humanism
[00:48:28.830]that we are asking classroom teachers to consider
[00:48:32.610]for their courses and for the students.
[00:48:35.397]And so we bookended each module with artistic pieces
[00:48:38.460]that kind of represent the themes
[00:48:40.560]of what we were trying to share.
[00:48:43.320]So I wanna share with you a highlight of a former student,
[00:48:48.420]who's now an artist, and I commissioned a piece from her
[00:48:54.150]called "The Inclusive Classroom."
[00:48:56.160]And she, in this short clip, she describes it.
[00:48:59.790]So let me just quickly share again,
[00:49:07.380]ah, there we go.
[00:49:21.990]Thumbs up you hearing sound.
[00:49:23.887]I started painting recently, actually.
[00:49:26.460]My first painting I've ever really had done
[00:49:29.550]was in college.
[00:49:31.260]My mom asked me to do a portrait for her
[00:49:34.950]that was Puerto Rican inspired.
[00:49:37.500]And so I did this like huge portrait of like a Taino woman.
[00:49:42.870]And then I didn't go back to painting.
[00:49:45.690]I was just drawing with graphite until quarantine happened,
[00:49:50.430]and I was in France, and I was bored out of my mind.
[00:49:54.810]And I was like, I need something to do.
[00:49:58.320]I'd never done an abstract painting in my life.
[00:50:00.870]I've always been a very realistic painter,
[00:50:04.170]and so, I didn't know, because you have so much free range.
[00:50:08.250]And I kept thinking about what does it mean
[00:50:11.160]to feel successful in a classroom
[00:50:13.380]as well as what does it feel
[00:50:14.970]to not be successful in the classroom?
[00:50:16.680]And what does that look like?
[00:50:18.660]And then as a teacher and a student,
[00:50:20.430]that I've been both, on both ends,
[00:50:23.040]what did I feel like as a student,
[00:50:24.690]when I finally felt successful?
[00:50:27.450]What did I feel like as a teacher,
[00:50:28.860]when I was helping a student be successful?
[00:50:33.420]And so I was like, how in the heck
[00:50:35.040]am I gonna put all of this information into one painting?
[00:50:39.180]It's just such a complex idea of an inclusive classroom.
[00:50:45.960]I think a successful classroom that I have been a part of,
[00:50:49.380]were classrooms that were hands on,
[00:50:51.990]and were classrooms that particularly made you feel
[00:50:57.240]like you were owning it, the learning.
[00:51:00.840]An inclusive classroom to me
[00:51:03.630]means that everyone feels empowered.
[00:51:08.430]Everyone feels, in the classroom,
[00:51:10.470]that they have something to share.
[00:51:14.220]I would describe a learner as someone who's curious,
[00:51:21.750]or someone who wants to acquire information
[00:51:26.670]to transform something, whether that's themselves,
[00:51:30.690]or it could be society,
[00:51:33.750]or it could be some new trend or something.
[00:51:37.290]So I think a learner is just someone who can use
[00:51:41.250]and is hungry for information
[00:51:43.380]to utilize that in a specific way.
[00:51:48.060]I wanted the colors to represent
[00:51:49.650]kind of the process of learning.
[00:51:52.110]So the figure in the middle
[00:51:53.970]is a student who is morphing themselves.
[00:51:56.520]So they're made out of clay,
[00:51:58.260]and they're kind of moldable and malleable,
[00:52:00.240]and they're just trying to kind of fit into that space.
[00:52:03.840]And they're surrounded by black, and that black,
[00:52:07.650]I wanted to also incorporate science
[00:52:09.240]because I'm a science teacher.
[00:52:11.250]So black absorbs light.
[00:52:14.040]It absorbs all of the light basically.
[00:52:16.050]And so the student is trying to absorb
[00:52:18.690]and trying to understand which one they are.
[00:52:21.330]The ideal outcome of an inclusive classroom
[00:52:24.510]is for students to feel
[00:52:27.060]like they can challenge themselves in the world.
[00:52:37.680]Thank you so much.
[00:52:40.050]I'll just share one more slide.
[00:52:46.260]If we don't get,
[00:52:47.705]if I don't get a chance to talk to you today,
[00:52:49.875]why are you not moving, okay, this is how you find me.
[00:52:54.420]But you know, I'll be around the next couple days, I guess,
[00:52:57.120]both online and in person
[00:52:58.710]for those who are in Nebraska right now.
[00:53:02.070]Thank you for your time.
[00:53:03.207]And I wish you a great conference,
[00:53:04.980]and great success in transforming your classrooms.
[00:53:08.940]I think we have a few minutes for questions, Locken,
[00:53:11.820]so, you know, we can take them now.
[00:53:15.870]We do, thanks so much, Bryan.
[00:53:20.430]I know I found myself thinking about my own journey
[00:53:23.730]as I listened to you talk about the sense of place,
[00:53:26.430]and that's a really powerful, powerful thing.
[00:53:28.650]So I see some hand clapping going on.
[00:53:32.340]That's the only problem about these virtual conferences
[00:53:34.380]is you can't hear that roar of clapping.
[00:53:37.920]But if you have questions,
[00:53:39.930]go ahead and put them in the chat,
[00:53:42.120]or you can raise your hand and we'll get you unmuted.
[00:53:46.710]So certainly we've got some time here
[00:53:50.430]before our break for questions.
[00:53:54.180]I also saw some people reacting with quotes
[00:53:57.690]that they enjoyed from your talk, Bryan.
[00:53:59.460]And so I encourage people to go to the chat
[00:54:01.770]and stick something on the wall there.
[00:54:05.550]If you thought it was something that we should all remember,
[00:54:09.300]that'd be a great place for it.
[00:54:21.030]While we're waiting for somebody to be brave
[00:54:23.880]to step forward here,
[00:54:24.780]you said maybe you should tell us a little bit
[00:54:27.180]about your intro to biology.
[00:54:28.770]You said we might circle back to that in the Q&A.
[00:54:30.990]And so is there a brief summary
[00:54:35.820]of what you're doing in there?
[00:54:39.780]Sorry, what's the last thing you said, the last sentence.
[00:54:42.750]Is there a brief, a summary that you have
[00:54:45.180]of what you're doing in that intro to biology class
[00:54:48.240]that might be a good example for us?
[00:54:51.810]Yeah, brief would be hard just because intro bio,
[00:54:55.500]at least the way we run it, is there's so many moving parts,
[00:55:01.710]and that's by design, right.
[00:55:04.038]And one of the things I enjoyed with tier,
[00:55:05.610]and you described what might come in the next couple days
[00:55:08.760]is people will be talking about different,
[00:55:12.452]specific elements of inclusive teaching.
[00:55:13.470]I heard on grading, I think I heard things about group work
[00:55:17.400]or things like that.
[00:55:18.330]Maybe one example I would give,
[00:55:19.860]which people may or may not bring up,
[00:55:22.110]but I think it's central to the building community,
[00:55:25.740]and making that classroom
[00:55:27.000]feel like a real sense of place for them
[00:55:29.670]is how we do office hours.
[00:55:32.670]We actually don't call it office hours.
[00:55:33.990]We call it student hours,
[00:55:36.240]partly because a lot of my first generation college students
[00:55:39.840]and I was one myself,
[00:55:40.980]and those of you who may have been one yourself,
[00:55:45.630]you know that there's a hidden curriculum in college.
[00:55:48.750]There's a hidden curriculum sometimes in life.
[00:55:51.882]And people with social capital
[00:55:52.950]have access to that, and you don't.
[00:55:55.247]And that there're little things that, you know,
[00:55:56.400]like I said, my parents didn't ask me
[00:55:57.900]about metacognition and study strategies,
[00:55:59.760]but well, my sons will be asked that, right.
[00:56:02.040]They will be told that before they get to college.
[00:56:04.140]So one of the hidden curriculum things is that some students
[00:56:08.520]actually thought office hours was parents time, sorry,
[00:56:11.520]professor's time to check their work.
[00:56:14.970]And they literally, even though it said on the,
[00:56:16.830]I mean, it's weird how these things unfold,
[00:56:18.540]but it just is what it is, right.
[00:56:19.980]So I could take the position where like,
[00:56:22.177]I said it's on the syllabus, it's everybody know that,
[00:56:24.290]and then they don't come,
[00:56:25.123]they don't get the help, and then that's that, right.
[00:56:28.410]But then you lose them, and then who wins in that scenario?
[00:56:31.080]So if my goal is to teach students,
[00:56:33.630]I just say, no, no, no, I need to get you in the door.
[00:56:35.520]I need to get you there.
[00:56:36.630]And once I get you there, and we could actually talk,
[00:56:39.150]then some magic and beauty can happen.
[00:56:41.460]So we call it student hours, and we hold it in the dorm.
[00:56:44.940]Why, because my office only has two chairs.
[00:56:47.703]And if everybody came, you can do any math,
[00:56:49.230]it's not gonna work out, right.
[00:56:51.030]And then just the walking down the corridor to my office
[00:56:54.930]for some students can feel like walking the green mile.
[00:56:58.680]And again, if the goal is to just
[00:57:00.690]to get them to make that connection with you,
[00:57:02.880]I'm happy to, you know,
[00:57:04.590]if the mountain wouldn't come to Mohammed, right,
[00:57:07.154]I'm happy to go to the mountain
[00:57:08.550]and get our conversation going.
[00:57:10.380]It's a basement room with 45 chairs and two whiteboards.
[00:57:14.490]And we're full every week.
[00:57:16.380]And we have it at different times
[00:57:17.670]so that if somebody has a schedule clash,
[00:57:20.160]they don't miss it for the whole semester,
[00:57:22.573]and the commuters can come, and if it's during dinner time,
[00:57:24.750]I'll use my privilege and buy pizza for everybody.
[00:57:27.030]So long as you don't complain about Hawaiian,
[00:57:28.710]because it's fine.
[00:57:31.680]You know, I mean, it is just such a,
[00:57:34.065]and I teach a class of 155,
[00:57:36.300]but that now becomes this really kinda small engaging space.
[00:57:41.400]And again, once it kind of feel like, oh yeah,
[00:57:43.710]this is something I can do, and something I can thrive in,
[00:57:46.350]and this is not a barrier I need to figure out,
[00:57:49.830]you just get a different kind of student.
[00:57:51.480]So I'll just leave it as one example,
[00:57:53.786]'cause I see Terry as his hand up.
[00:57:55.260]Sure, Terry, go ahead.
[00:58:03.390]You may have to unmute.
[00:58:08.633]Okay, let's try again.
[00:58:09.466]Bryan, Terry Sharik from Michigan Tech,
[00:58:13.620]the business of having to deconstruct
[00:58:18.270]in order to have a different experience
[00:58:21.390]in a particular class,
[00:58:24.300]if you have a variety of students, which you typically would
[00:58:28.380]that come from different backgrounds
[00:58:29.790]who are in a particular class that you're teaching,
[00:58:34.410]do you have them go through a deconstruction process?
[00:58:38.940]Are you explicit about that?
[00:58:41.790]You've talked about this a little bit,
[00:58:43.320]but how do you approach this in a very systematic way
[00:58:49.590]so that, you know,
[00:58:51.840]they go through this deconstruction process
[00:58:55.710]that allows them to become part of this community
[00:58:58.230]in a way that perhaps they wouldn't have been otherwise?
[00:59:01.200]Does that make sense?
[00:59:02.460]I think it does.
[00:59:04.272]So tell me if I got your question right,
[00:59:07.157]by the way I answer it.
[00:59:09.540]The first thing for me as the instructor
[00:59:11.670]is to try to understand as best as I can,
[00:59:14.970]what history they're bringing with them to the classroom.
[00:59:18.690]So there there's a macro history
[00:59:20.790]in terms of some may come from rural neighborhoods,
[00:59:23.340]privileged neighborhoods, redline neighborhoods.
[00:59:26.190]And I know from psychology literature,
[00:59:27.990]that that may impact what the transition experience
[00:59:31.440]might look like for them psychologically.
[00:59:33.630]It doesn't definitely mean that,
[00:59:35.766]it is not deterministic, but it might.
[00:59:37.650]So me understanding that is sort of step one.
[00:59:40.950]Step two is I actually work with institutional research
[00:59:45.390]to get an understanding of the academic history, right.
[00:59:48.240]And they're not only diverse in, you know,
[00:59:51.690]ethnicity and et cetera, et cetera,
[00:59:53.070]but they actually diversely prepared, right.
[00:59:54.870]So some students had EP bio,
[00:59:56.700]some did one general science class in their middle school
[00:59:59.610]or something like that.
[01:00:01.642]And they all in my class, right.
[01:00:02.475]So we have to all figure it out.
[01:00:04.920]And then number three, I use a strengths based survey
[01:00:10.410]called first day info sheets.
[01:00:13.050]If you wanna look up the reference,
[01:00:14.310]it's Killpack and Melon 2020,
[01:00:17.866]and it basically asks them questions about, you know,
[01:00:20.940]describe one thing your professor does that you like.
[01:00:23.130]Describe one thing you're good at.
[01:00:24.420]What are your pronouns, right.
[01:00:25.710]So this ends up being,
[01:00:27.390]I'm trying to get a sort of comprehensive picture
[01:00:29.520]of who the student is, you know.
[01:00:32.850]And so now, when they're in the classroom, you know,
[01:00:38.910]part the deconstruction process is,
[01:00:41.970]is them needing to believe that this is a space
[01:00:44.640]where they can thrive, right.
[01:00:46.830]And again, this is why I'm stressing over and over,
[01:00:49.170]they need to understand the literature
[01:00:51.120]that describes these processes from sociology and psychology
[01:00:55.350]in that classroom, there could be a lot of cues,
[01:00:59.040]unintentional cues either can propel them to believe
[01:01:05.850]that they can be successful,
[01:01:08.760]or reinforce a mindset that they won't be.
[01:01:13.647]And you see, I'm sure all of you have had this experience.
[01:01:18.120]Coming to me after class.
[01:01:19.380]You know, I don't think this class is for me.
[01:01:23.864]Because everybody else
[01:01:24.697]seemed like they know what they're doing and I don't.
[01:01:27.150]What's your evidence for that?
[01:01:28.350]Well, you asked that question
[01:01:30.409]and that one person got the answer right and I didn't.
[01:01:32.730]So your sample size is one, right?
[01:01:34.890]Like that, but when you see how it,
[01:01:37.290]it's almost as though their brain is queued
[01:01:39.690]to look for the first thing
[01:01:42.510]to confirm a bias in their mind
[01:01:46.020]about themselves they already has.
[01:01:48.300]So, because I know this, there are little things,
[01:01:51.780]and I'll give you one example,
[01:01:54.750]because I know there are other questions
[01:01:56.526]and I hope this answers your question.
[01:01:57.420]One example of something I do to sort of,
[01:02:00.840]yes, Brenda, that's the reference.
[01:02:03.330]One example of language that I use to, again,
[01:02:07.230]deconstruct and change their notion
[01:02:08.970]of how this education thing operates, right.
[01:02:12.150]Many times we say, oh, you know, if you need extra help,
[01:02:15.150]go to tutoring, we have office hours.
[01:02:17.070]We have, you know, learning assistant sessions, et cetera.
[01:02:23.220]The problem with that, even as benign as that sounds,
[01:02:26.760]is it gives the impression that there are some among you
[01:02:31.350]who are good at this thing called science, right.
[01:02:34.860]And can just achieve everything you need to achieve
[01:02:37.710]Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 2 to 2:50 pm.
[01:02:41.400]But if you're not as good, if you're not that good,
[01:02:44.310]and you need kinda the extra assistance,
[01:02:46.230]you can go to that third floor
[01:02:47.820]of that old building on the other corner of campus
[01:02:50.130]where some people can help you out, right.
[01:02:52.830]I know that's not what professors mean,
[01:02:55.090]but I know that's how some students can internalize.
[01:02:57.180]So when they come to tutoring,
[01:02:58.380]and when they come to your office,
[01:02:59.956]they come with a sense of shame,
[01:03:01.050]and start questions by saying,
[01:03:03.240]I'm sorry, but I didn't understand.
[01:03:04.860]So why you apologizing?
[01:03:06.030]If you don't understand, you don't understand it,
[01:03:07.260]that's fine, right.
[01:03:08.820]So I changed that speech
[01:03:11.460]by saying science is a technical discipline.
[01:03:17.760]We use words when we describe things
[01:03:21.240]that most people, most reasonable people,
[01:03:24.150]won't use in their everyday life.
[01:03:26.730]So like every technical discipline,
[01:03:29.070]it will take you some repetition
[01:03:31.320]to become comfortable in this space,
[01:03:34.260]and to explaining and articulating the processes
[01:03:37.260]that we'll talk about.
[01:03:39.546]And we wouldn't have time when we meet three times a week
[01:03:42.360]to do that level of repetition.
[01:03:44.760]So I am relying on you
[01:03:46.890]to do some of that repetition on your own,
[01:03:49.350]or if you want to do it in a guided environment,
[01:03:52.080]here are some places where you will have people
[01:03:54.120]who have experience in this space
[01:03:56.520]to help you with that process.
[01:03:59.400]So that is now framing the pursuit of this
[01:04:04.500]and the act of going to these offices
[01:04:07.080]and coming to office hours
[01:04:08.820]as just what is expected to be good at it.
[01:04:11.820]Versus like, well, if you can't hack it with me,
[01:04:15.180]then you have to go and get extra help.
[01:04:17.670]So that, Terry, I hope I'm getting at your question,
[01:04:20.430]but that is kind of part of deconstructing
[01:04:22.770]of what the pursuit could look like.
[01:04:26.070]And, you know, the fact that they have every much a right
[01:04:30.207]and a place in doing it as everybody else.
[01:04:33.420]Great, thanks very much.
[01:04:36.600]Bryan, I'm gonna take one more question
[01:04:38.670]and then we'll let you respond to some others
[01:04:40.800]that are in the chat as we move forward this morning.
[01:04:43.590]But Erica had a question about
[01:04:45.870]how do we find ways to help students
[01:04:49.440]embrace a sense of place in the environment
[01:04:52.110]if they haven't already had
[01:04:54.240]those prior place-based experiences.
[01:04:57.780]So helping students seek that sense of place.
[01:05:03.480]Yeah, I guess the best way I can answer that
[01:05:09.420]is to give an example of, you know,
[01:05:15.690]when I've had to do that,
[01:05:17.820]when I had the privilege, I should say, to do that.
[01:05:22.440]So I'll give you two quick examples actually.
[01:05:25.710]So my wife is a first grade teacher,
[01:05:28.710]and she's taught teaching for like 16, 17 years.
[01:05:32.520]And for several years, she taught
[01:05:34.860]in a really low income neighborhood in Miami, Florida.
[01:05:41.280]And like maybe actually
[01:05:44.180]one of the lowest income neighborhoods in the city.
[01:05:46.800]And there are still environments, right.
[01:05:50.315]They are still plants and things, but they are weeds.
[01:05:55.350]They are overgrown lots.
[01:05:57.757]And you know, they're not the nice state parks
[01:06:00.660]that are manicured with trails and signs
[01:06:03.060]and labels and stuff.
[01:06:06.600]But she would still take her kids outside, right.
[01:06:09.750]Seven years old, six years old, whatever.
[01:06:13.830]And there'd still be butterflies, there'd still be bees.
[01:06:16.080]There'd still be things you can point and say, you know,
[01:06:21.990]this is X, this is Y.
[01:06:23.910]And here's why this is this color, and this is not.
[01:06:26.670]Because these are things they would just pass every day
[01:06:29.280]going to class and ignore
[01:06:31.710]and just think it's not a thing, it's just an overgrown lot.
[01:06:33.840]And it shouldn't be overgrown, it shouldn't be like that,
[01:06:36.660]but it's still getting them
[01:06:37.950]kind of past the noise of their neighborhood
[01:06:39.870]and seeing beauty where perhaps most people don't.
[01:06:43.890]And I like that example because
[01:06:47.460]that's not really on the curriculum.
[01:06:50.580]It's, you know, especially in those early testing grades,
[01:06:53.340]a lot of the focus is on reading and math.
[01:06:55.890]And I feel very strongly about getting the students
[01:06:59.460]excited about these kinds of things at that age
[01:07:01.770]and not waiting for them to come to my intro bio class
[01:07:04.230]to then say,
[01:07:05.719]hey, you should get excited about natural sciences
[01:07:06.900]because by that time, the identity is mostly set.
[01:07:13.020]And then I would go with, you know, my scuba mask,
[01:07:15.450]you know, when I used to do that and talk about diving,
[01:07:18.870]talk about the ocean, and talk about,
[01:07:20.834]you know, and again, this is Miami,
[01:07:21.990]and some of these kids would never,
[01:07:23.460]lived 15 minutes from the coastline,
[01:07:26.610]and would've never seen it.
[01:07:28.860]So part of getting that place based experience
[01:07:31.980]is to give them the prior place based experience.
[01:07:34.650]And to the extent that you have outreach programs
[01:07:37.133]or K-12 programs that do that,
[01:07:39.133]I really strongly encourage, right.
[01:07:41.520]That's number one, number two,
[01:07:43.560]if they do come to my class without that,
[01:07:47.490]and you know, maybe a big privilege we had in Miami
[01:07:51.399]was we had you know, pretty good weather year round,
[01:07:52.890]but we did this in Rhode Island, too.
[01:07:54.690]We try to do most of our science outside, right.
[01:07:59.850]Yeah, when you're doing your molecular stuff or whatever,
[01:08:01.560]that is what it is,
[01:08:03.285]but we didn't wanna just sit in class
[01:08:04.230]and talk about species richness theoretically.
[01:08:07.950]We would actually take them outside
[01:08:10.110]to the neighboring forest,
[01:08:11.340]or to the coastline, and actually dig things and count.
[01:08:15.135]And, you know, it's amazing how foreign
[01:08:19.680]that world was for some of them.
[01:08:22.080]But the only way you combat that
[01:08:24.120]is by providing the experiential opportunities, right,
[01:08:27.690]for them to go through the process
[01:08:29.070]of actually picking through those things
[01:08:30.540]and seeing what it is.
[01:08:32.107]And in the process, talking about our history, right.
[01:08:34.200]This is where the Wampanoag used to be.
[01:08:35.580]This is where the Narragansett used to be.
[01:08:37.890]This is where the war was fought.
[01:08:39.360]And this is why, and this is what has remained.
[01:08:42.300]So that should be, that experiential curriculum,
[01:08:44.940]you know, there's a group out in Baltimore called Bmore,
[01:08:47.700]which is really kind of promoting
[01:08:49.110]that experiential learning of science.
[01:08:51.150]I couldn't be more supportive of it.
[01:08:53.610]So the more you can get that in your curriculum,
[01:08:55.410]in my opinion, the better.
[01:08:57.240]Answer your question.
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