Summer Reading Series: “Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning”

This is the first post in our dialogic pedagogies summer reading series; for more information and a complete list of texts, see here. Not all posts will be as long as what follows — this week’s text is just a particularly rich one for inspiring thought and practice. 🙂 

By Sarah Ropp

Title: Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education (published 2013; available for free via PDF HERE)

Authors: Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff and Libby Roderick

Context of Creation: This book comes out of a weeklong faculty intensive organized through a partnership between Alaska Native educators, Elders, and community members and two Anchorage, Alaska-based public universities: University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and Alaska Pacific University (APU). The book is a follow-up to 2008’s Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education (edited by Kay Landis; free PDF available HERE). The UAA/APU Difficult Dialogues programming, funded by the Ford Foundation’s national Difficult Dialogues initiative, is considered a torchbearer in the field of dialogic pedagogies, in large part on the strength of these two open-access texts. 

Context of Reception: I read most of this book sitting in my backyard, on a pleasant May day in Austin, Texas. As the authors encouraged, I took frequent breaks to breathe, reflect, and connect to my environment, attending to the sunlight filtering through the leaves, the birdsong, the temporary drone of landscaping machinery, a hovering mosquito, some new mushrooms in the grass from the rain. At one point, barely into my reading, a squirrel ventured close to me. She rose up to rest on her back legs, made eye contact with me, and mimed eating a nut, nibbling at the air between empty paws. She came closer, and put a paw on the orange suede toe of my sneaker. I had my legs crossed, so she had to stand and reach for my foot; the pressure of her paw was delicate. I had never before interacted with our backyard squirrels. Her presence brought me happiness, and infused the reading of this book with added pleasure and significance. 

I give thanks to the Alaska Native educators and Elders whose words are featured in Stop Talking, as well as the authors of the book, for sharing their knowledge and making it available free of cost. I acknowledge that my home in Austin sits on indigenous land and pay respect to the Carrizo & Comecrudo, Coahuiltecan, Caddo, Tonkawa, Comanche, Lipan Apache, Alabama-Coushatta, Kickapoo, Tigua Pueblo, and all the American Indian and Indigenous Peoples and communities who have been or have become a part of these lands and territories in Texas, here on Turtle Island. (I also thank Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at UT-Austin for providing the language of this acknowledgement.) 

Overview of Structure and Content: The structure of the book mimics the programming of the five-day faculty intensive and reproduces much of its content, in order to give the reader something of the experience of participating and learning alongside non-Native faculty members and the Alaska Native people who served as their guides and leaders. The book, directed at transdisciplinary higher-ed faculty, quite clearly assumes a reader who is non-Native and may be unfamiliar with decolonialist thought and pedagogy. Besides summaries of each day’s programming and content and some contextual information on Alaska education and Alaska Native issues, the chapters contain these basic elements: 

  1. Short written essays and transcripts of oral stories, performances, conversations, and talks that represent the direct voice of indigenous Elders, teachers, performers, and community members present at the faculty intensive. They speak mainly to indigenous ways of learning, teaching, and being and challenges that indigenous students face in traditional Western education structures.
  2. Index-card style graphics presenting ideas to implement some of these concepts as concrete, transdisciplinary classroom practices. 
  3. Reflection questions for readers. 

3 Thought-Starters for Teachers

I am so glad I began this summer reading series with Stop Talking, because it has prompted me to attend to the ways in which I frame the opportunities for learning and reflection that a text provides. My first instinct was to title this subsection “3 Takeaways for Teachers,” but takeaway (a word I’ve often used) suggests that I am packaging up the insights contained in the book into a kind of goodie bag of products (and the word itself is extractive: what you take away). This reproduces the transactional and reductionist approach to education that defines the Western system, in which knowledge can be parceled into clearly delineated chunks, distributed, consumed, and mastered. The indigenous approaches to learning centered in Stop Talking, however, value reflection, recursiveness, and independent thinking. In that spirit, I’ll strive throughout this book series to present not neatly packaged “takeaways” but rather thought-starters, with reflection questions rather than teaching suggestions. And although these thought-starters from Stop Talking are still separated out into three distinct ideas, please receive them and think about them as deeply interrelated and mutually reinforcing concepts. 

Place-based Teaching and Learning

Elder Elsie Mather, Yup’ik, says, in a conversation with other Elders, “In a way, it’s sad that we are becoming so dependent on reading for information. You and a book — you can closet yourself anywhere and learn (or not learn, depending on the quality of your reading material). You can be thousands of miles away from your source of information. When you have that book, it doesn’t matter where your learning takes place. . . . This dependency on books. I call it a monster because of the distance it puts between us and our sources” (57). 

This questioning of the value of written sources of knowledge may be deeply counterintuitive — even shocking — to those of us whose work (and teaching) revolves around reading. We might argue that this ability to be removed from a source or site and still learn about it is precisely the power and value of reading! But from a decolonialist perspective, if we consider how little of the literature (scholarly and otherwise) about non-White and non-Western people and places has been written by non-White and non-Western people, this critique of reading as the ultimate form of access to knowledge makes all the sense in the world. Educator Paul Ongtooguk, Inupiaq, highlights this issue when he describes his lifelong pursuit to attempt to understand “the disengagement between this enormous amount of literature about [Alaska Natives] and our complete invisibility in Alaska’s school systems” (49). 

Reading, Elder Elsie says, is “a necessary monster” (57), but Stop Talking emphasizes that one essential way to indigenize or decolonize teaching is to complement “book-learning” with place-based teaching and learning. Place-based knowledge, the authors explain, “springs from a deep and detailed experience of a place and manifests as a sense of belonging to, identification with, and awareness of everything that goes on in that place” (19). 

  • How can we bring students closer to the source of knowledge (even and especially if our content is based on sites and peoples that are geographically or historically far away)? 
  • How can we connect ourselves and our students more to place?
  • How can we ground dialogues (no matter the topic) in the communities and environments in which we are teaching?  

Affirmation and Relationships 

Educator Martha Gould-Lehe, Upper Kuskokwim Athabascan, writes that Alaska Native students “need to feel valued; and will respond only to relationships (most will not work to please a teacher if they feel the teacher does not value them)” (54).

Educator Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff, Aleut, writes: “Whenever I passed an adult, I would hear ‘aang laakaiyaax, exumnaakotxtxin. Hello young boy. You are good.’ I was never rejected, never judged, never criticized, always and only positively affirmed by everyone in my village nearly every day of my entire childhood. Can you imagine what that’s like, how beautiful that is?” (60). 

Throughout Stop Talking, the need to cultivate strong relationships between students and teachers through affirmation comes up again and again. Though it is something that the Native educators cited above speak about in the context of children receiving loving affirmation from adults, it transfers to university-level settings, even among faculty: one of the “Alaska Native Discourse Values” that faculty participants agreed to abide by in Stop Talking is: “Do not voice disagreement or use violent words; instead, say something positive about the previous speaker and then simply add your own thoughts” (7).

This may seem to be in stark contrast to “call-out” culture, or even “call-in” culture, in which direct challenge of another person’s wrong thinking or wrong behavior by peers is considered the right of oppressed people and the moral imperative of their allies. It also challenges the traditional Western view of the teacher as an evaluator, a grader, and a corrector. Instead, an indigenous approach to teaching uses indirect forms of teaching (for example, through storytelling or modeling without direct instruction) and encourages students to learn through observation and emulation. 

  • What is your reaction to these ideas? Where does that reaction come from? 
  • Are affirmation and non-violent communication necessarily opposed to “calling out/calling in”? Why or why not? 
  • What are students’ responsibilities with regards to affirming one another? 
  • What is the teacher’s responsibility with regards to affirming students? 
  • What is the role of affirmation in dialogue? 

Storytelling and Other Indirect Forms of Instruction 

One of the book’s authors, educator Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff, Aleut, writes: “Stories allow the teller to express whatever is most important and give listeners the latitude to take away whatever they are able to see or learn. Each person sees and learns different things from the same story. The story does not dictate the lesson to be learned; rather it creates the opportunity to learn whatever the individual is capable of learning. If I give you a direct answer, there’s no freedom. I am acting as the authority, the expert. But in the relationship between real human beings there is no one-upmanship. I am not the answer. I don’t know any more than you do. The only difference between us is our experience and how we use our inherent intelligence” (59). 

  • Do you integrate stories (either from your own personal experiences or literary/cultural stories) in your classroom? Do you invite students to tell stories?
  • If so, how do you guide students to make meaning of stories? 
  • If not, what place might storytelling have in your classroom? How might it enrich or add meaning to your content, even and especially if you consider your content to be very fact-based, data-driven, or objective? 
  • What is the relationship between storytelling and dialogue? Between place-based education and storytelling? 

3 Concrete Practices for Immediate Implementation:

Center Listening by Outlawing Reading & Writing for a Day

Stop Talking emphasizes the value of presence, stillness, and receptivity. At their faculty intensive, no one was allowed to take written notes. The authors write, “In the embodied, direct, oral and visual style of learning common to most indigenous cultures, there is no writing it down. Instead, you pay keen attention, listen closely and deeply, emulate the wisest and most experienced among you, learn by doing, and take what you learn so deeply into yourself that it becomes part of your identity” (4).

Prohibit students from taking notes one day during lecture or dialogue. Likewise, do not write anything on the board or refer to any written materials. Encourage them to receive and share without recording. Build moments of silence into dialogue, to give participants time to process what they have heard and/or reflect and prepare to speak. Discuss at the end of class how it felt, how they adapted, what was challenging and liberating about it, and what they believe they will remember and carry with them. 

Center Marginalized Voices through Conversation Observation

Stop Talking encourages a “fishbowl” activity, in which a small group of students, representing a marginalized viewpoint or set of viewpoints (e.g. first-generation students; LGBTQ+ students), sit in an inner circle in the middle of the room and engage in dialogue with one another. The rest of the students sit in respectful silence in an outer circle (in an online classroom, you might have the “inner circle” leave cameras on while everyone in the “outer circle” turns theirs off). They observe and receive the conversation without participating and with the intention to learn from, not critique or debate, what they are hearing. After the inner circle completes their conversation, the observing students reflect and debrief on what they have learned.

In the faculty intensive of Stop Talking, Native educators and Elders formed this inner circle and non-Native faculty formed the outer circle. However, in a classroom setting, I believe this activity would have the potential to unduly burden minority and marginalized students (whether they self-identify this way or have been designated/assumed as such by instructors) with the pressure to agree to become a spectacle for the pseudo-scientific scrutiny of their peers. Unless you have students who are eager to participate in the “inner circle,” I suggest instead showing a publicly available video of a conversation between people who represent those whose experiences you desire to highlight, or inviting guest speakers to converse with each other in front of the class. 

Center Students’ Experience with a Critical Incident Questionnaire

The facilitators of the faculty intensive administered what they called a “critical incident questionnaire” at the end of each day’s programming, in which they asked participants to  respond anonymously to the same set of questions: 

  • At what moment today were you most engaged as a learner?
  • At what moment were you most distanced as a learner?
  • What activities did you find most affirming or helpful? 
  • What activities did you find most puzzling or confusing?
  • What surprised you most about today?

You might administer these questions in written form as an “exit ticket” at the end of a lesson or unit, or use them as the basis of a classroom dialogue. 

One In-Depth Activity

Responding to Alaska Native Discourse Values

This is an activity that uses short excerpts from Stop Talking to foster critical reflection and expose students to indigenous discourse paradigms during conversations about community agreements for dialogue early in the semester. 

These questions can be answered independently in writing, or in oral or written dialogue with partners, small groups, or as a class. Collaborative annotation via Hypo.thesis or Perusall is one option for responding in community; one or more shared Google docs is another option. 

If you would like students to work directly in Google docs, create a force-copy version of this document, which contains embedded hyperlinks to the texts. If you would rather access both the texts and the questions in a single file to share with students, use this PDF.

Next Week . . . 

We will be reading How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide, by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay (2019). 


Dialogic Pedagogy Summer Reading List & Blog Series

By Sarah Ropp

This summer, I am on a quest to distill and create usable classroom resources from the many books on dialogue floating around out there. 

Each week, I will be reading a different text related to some aspect of dialogue — its (contested) meanings, possibilities, and challenges; models and structures for dialogue; and participation and facilitation strategies. 

Each Friday, in a blog post published here on the Humanities Institute blog, I will briefly summarize the week’s reading and share ready-made materials for teachers and students based on what I consider to be the most useful and relevant content contained in the reading. These materials, which will include handouts, slideshows, activities, infographics, and so on, will be broadly adaptable across discipline and course topic. Neither teachers nor students will have had to read the text in order to understand and use them! My hope is to make it easier for instructors to access dialogic pedagogies and play with new structures, strategies, and approaches in their classrooms. 

Here are a couple of examples of ready-to-use classroom materials based on books on dialogue: 

Text: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Stone, Patton, and Heen, 1999)

Resources: “The 3 Conversations: A Framework for Understanding Difficult Dialogues” is an instructional slideshow to introduce students to this structuring concept from Stone, Patton, and Heen’s text. “Reflecting on the 3 Conversations” is a collaborative processing activity for students to complete after reading the slideshow. 

Text: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (DiAngelo, 2018)

Resources: “Terms and Concepts from White Fragility is a handout for students that defines and provides examples for key terms related to racial (in)justice. “Challenging Common Norms” is an activity that prompts reflection, dialogue, and collaborative norm-setting in preparation for classroom dialogue on sensitive topics. 

Below is a working list of texts I’ll be reading my way through. You are welcome to read along and join in the conversation! Though the main focus for the purpose of this blog series will be practical and meaning-oriented as opposed to critique-oriented — that is, a “What can we learn and use from this?” mindset versus a “What’s wrong with this?” mindset — I am also interested in discussions around the broader contexts in which these texts are embedded: who’s writing them, for whom, and towards what ideological or political purposes. I very warmly invite you to respond to both these texts and to my materials with questions, pushback, and suggestions. Do make sure to subscribe to the Humanities Institute newsletter in order to catch the posts each week. (Just enter your email address under “Subscribe By Email” on the left-hand toolbar.) 

Texts for the Dialogic Pedagogy Summer Reading Series: 

Week   Text Check for the blog post on…
May 24 Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education (Merculieff and Roderick, 2013) Friday, May 28
May 31 How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide (Boghossian and Lindsay, 2019) Friday, June 4
June 7 Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education (Longo and Schaffer, eds, 2019) Friday, June 11
June 14 Teaching through Challenges to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (EDI) (Burrell Storms, Donovan, and Williams, 2020) Friday, June 18
June 21 Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (hooks, 1994) Friday, June 25
June 28 So You Want to Talk About Race (Oluo, 2018) Friday, July 2
July 5 Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension (Ahmed, 2018) Friday, July 9
July 12 How to Talk about Hot Topics on Campus: From Polarization to Moral Conversation (Nash, Bradley, and Chickering, 2008) Friday, July 16
July 19 Facilitating Intergroup Dialogues: Bridging Differences, Catalyzing Change (Maxwell, Nagda, and Thompson, 2011) Friday, July 23
July 26 Democratic Dialogue in Education: Troubling Speech, Disturbing Silence (Boler, 2006) Friday, July 30
August 2 It’s Time to Talk (and Listen): A Handbook for Healing Conversations About Race, Class, Sexuality, Ability, Gender, and More (Kim and del Prado, 2019) Friday, August 6
August 9 TBD!  August 13


Celebrating a Semester of Community- and Skills-Building with the Difficult Dialogues Faculty Learning Community

By Dr. Sarah Ropp

This semester, in response to feedback from former faculty learning community members as well as attendees of our Fall 2020 orientation and open faculty meetings, we reimagined the format of our Difficult Dialogues faculty learning community (FLC). Our FLC meetings became a series of drop-in, bimonthly Friday meetings, alternating between skill-building workshops led by standout Difficult Dialogues faculty and open, unstructured conversations about dialogue in theory and practice. As with so many pandemic-era adaptations and experiments, we were trying hard to be responsive to people’s needs but unsure about how this would go. Would burned-out faculty want to spend the energy and the time to share and learn about dialogic pedagogy on Friday afternoons? Would the drop-in structure and lack of a formal commitment to the group still allow for meaningful community-building? 

As it turned out, yes! We could not be more pleased with the resilience, generosity, and engagement demonstrated by the more than 20 people who turned out for our eight hour-long sessions during the Spring 2021 semester — over half of whom attended multiple sessions. This post takes a look back over the semester, gathering together some of the most meaningful insights and practices shared over the course of the semester. It mimics in structure the same alternating pattern of our Friday meetings: highlights from our four faculty-led workshops are interspersed with stories of success shared by participants in our final open conversation on May 7. If you have additional stories of success to share, please let us know in the comments! 

Faculty-Led Workshop #1: “Self-Care” with Professor Gloria González-López

Dr. Gloria González-López (Sociology) set a wonderfully warm tone for our semester of work together during her January 29 workshop on self-care. 

One great technique: Collective Freewriting. Gloria modeled two examples of how she did this activity in her UGS/DD course after the Nov. 2020 election. First, she asked students to write a statement in response to the question, “How are you feeling now that the results of the election are known?” She compiled all of the statements in a single document, first with students’ names included, and then removed the names to create a collectively-authored poem. She facilitated a longer version of this activity the day immediately following the election, when results were not yet finalized, asking students to freewrite for 10 minutes in response to the topic of “uncertainty.” They shared their responses afterwards, and then her TA created a poem by picking out lines from their writing and knitting them together into verses. This poem was reshared with the entire class. In both cases, she asked students to reflect on the activity itself as well as share their responses to the prompt with the question, “How was that for you?”

One conceptual takeaway: Self-care is a collective and mutual practice. The privilege of being allowed to connect to others’ emotions provides care to me, even as my invitation to others to reflect and express themselves provides care to them. 

One additional resource: Gloria’s Daily Texan op-ed, “Teaching Discomfort at UT-Austin.

DD Faculty Success Story: Finding Community with Other Faculty

Dr. Louis Waldman (Art History) shared that they felt a “far greater sense of community this year” in comparison with other years. Louis noted that the pandemic created a new urgency to support faculty through the transition to online teaching as well as to create community more generally, and thanks to everyone’s new facility with Zoom, there were more opportunities to create community, in a way that was logistically easier than ever before. “Normally my only audience is my students,” Louis said. “Being able to share what I’m doing with other faculty has been a great source of energy, encouragement, and strength.” 

Faculty-Led Workshop #2: “Dialogic Meaning-Making through Multiple Modes” with Professor Katie Dawson and Beth Link 

Dr. Katie Dawson (Theatre and Dance) and Beth Link (Curriculum and Instruction) did a beautiful job modeling collaborative teaching practices in their March 12 workshop on dialogue in multiple modes. 

One great technique: Watercolor Conversations. Link, an arts educator, led participants in a non-verbal dialogue structure entitled “Watercolor Conversations.” In this activity, participants were split into pairs, and each pair of participants conducted a back-and-forth, silent conversation by taking turns to build upon each other’s drawings on a single canvas. (We used a digital painting tool called; in a face-to-face setting, instructors would need to provide paper and watercolor paints, crayons, or markers.) Link prompted participants to consider what abstract elements–colors, shapes, and lines–might represent different emotions or states of mind. She instructed us to follow certain conversational conventions as we painted: one person initiated the non-verbal dialogue by painting an abstract shape or line that expressed how they were feeling, the other responded to it, and their partner responded to them in kind. Participants were encouraged to paint in the same space–i.e., not have a “one-sided” conversation–to be mindful of how much space they were taking up in the canvas, and to avoid “interrupting.” Each participant engaged in visual dialogue with their partner for about five minutes while soft music played. Back in the whole group, Link led a post-dialogue reflection, in which participants considered the experience of having performed the watercolor conversation (“warm,” “supportive,” and “happy” were some of the reports) as well as the activity’s potential application in the classroom. Community building and norm-setting were emphasized as this activity’s main benefits, as the visual medium provides a grounding literality to discuss with students the importance of listening, responsiveness, and not taking up too much space in the dialogue. 

One conceptual takeaway: Embodied and visual modes that both respond to different learning styles and attend to students as whole people are powerful tools for community-building.

One additional resource: See this blog post for two other techniques Katie and Beth demonstrated in their workshop. 

DD Faculty Success Story: Students as Teaching Partners 

Dr. Tonia Guida (College of Natural Sciences) collaborated with the Faculty Innovation Center to make students in her DEI Concentration course her teaching partners. Four students from the course were selected to collaborate with Tonia over a 4-5 week period to provide feedback and guidance on the course content and assessments. She met with her student partners for 30 minutes once a week, with their main role being to help design the final project assignment for the course, including the rubric. The students explained the final project assignment to the rest of the class, positioning themselves as conduits to power representing students’ interests. The response from students has been incredibly positive, Tonia said, and the quality of their work was impressive, demonstrating the value of sharing power with students and trusting them to rise to high expectations. Tonia said, “I’m floored by how amazing projects can be when you leave them open-ended.” 

Faculty-Led Workshop #3: “Helping Students Think Through Positionality” with Professor Shetal Vohra-Gupta

Dr. Shetal Vohra-Gupta (Social Work) provided incredibly useful and concrete techniques for integrating reflection, dialogue, and action related to positionality in a scaffolded, logical way for students in her March 26 workshop.

One great technique: Positionality Statements. Vohra-Gupta stressed the importance of participating in critical self-reflection around identity as an instructor–not just having students do so. She explained that she does this for multiple reasons: to model reflection for students, to acknowledge and ameliorate to some degree the power imbalance between instructor and student, and to engage with her own positionality as a scholar and teacher on a regular, ongoing basis. Vohra-Gupta shared a short positionality statement of about three sentences that she uses to introduce students both to herself as an instructor and to the content and format of a positionality statement. Her statement contains a list of three or so of her primary social identities, as well as a definition of her scholarly and pedagogical identities (for example, as a feminist and critical race scholar). She invites students, after they have participated in a social identity mapping activity, to craft their own positionality statements. 

One conceptual takeaway: Navigating positionality shouldn’t stop at naming identities and reflecting on privilege — to be truly transformational, those reflections should be applied in increasingly more rigorous and complex ways throughout the semester. 

One additional resource: See this blog post to learn about the activities Shetal uses to build up to, and build upon, this positionality statement activity. 

DD Faculty Success Story: Responding to Student Feedback

Karen Landolt J.D. (Computer Science and Business, Government, and Society) described how she adjusted content in her ethics courses to respond to students’ interests. Though she has previously had great success in using Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book to teach conflict resolution and dialogue skills through role play based on the book, the exercise fell flat this time around. Karen sought student feedback: they didn’t feel the book’s themes were connected enough to the course focus. Rather than push forward with her syllabus before students had adequately practiced the target skills, Karen responded by returning to resources and selecting a new role play scenario: the “roommates fighting over doing dishes” scenario from Difficult Conversations (Patton, Stone, and Heen 1999). Students found this much more relatable and were able to have a successful role play. 

Faculty-Led Workshop #4: “‘Warm Calling’ and Collaborative Annotation” with Professor Danica Sumpter 

Dr. Danica Sumpter (Nursing) led a highly effective exercise in dogfooding (i.e., trying out pedagogical techniques yourself first) in her April 23 workshop on collaborative annotation as a means to prepare students for dialogue. 

One great technique: Collaborative Annotation with Hypo.thesis. Sumpter’s procedure is quite simple: using the Hypo.thesis plugin for Canvas, she uploads a text to the course site and assigns students to read and annotate the text together by the night before the class is scheduled to meet to discuss the text at hand. Sumpter can prime the students to attend to certain questions by inserting questions into the margins, or help them understand uncommon or debated terms by providing definitions in the margins. Using the various features of Hypo.thesis, students can respond to the questions Sumpter poses for them as well as highlight and comment on sections of text that strike them as particularly interesting or puzzling. They can respond to each other in comment threads, thus initiating a conversation about the text in writing before they are called upon to do so orally during class. Ahead of the synchronous course meeting, Sumpter reads through the comments students have made, looking for trends, misunderstandings, particularly poignant comments, and questions. This, she explained, gives her valuable insight into students’ understanding of the text ahead of their class discussion. She uses their collective annotations to guide the questions she formulates for students to respond to in dialogue. In class, Sumpter will highlight trends as well as individual responses, inviting students to reflect and further elaborate on their responses.

One conceptual takeaway: “Warm calling” is a desirable alternative to “cold calling” that implies that students will have the opportunity to prepare for being called on to some extent. This is one great way to practice Universal Design for Learning. 

One additional resource: See this blog post for more from Danica’s workshop. 

DD Faculty Success Story: Accessing the World 

Dr. Pauline Strong (Anthropology; Director of the Humanities Center) shared how one of the gifts of the COVID era has been the new global accessibility of museums. Normally, the final project of her Museum Studies course would be based on one of the Austin-area museums she and students would have visited together over the course of the semester. This semester, Polly said, she asked students to choose a museum they thought had adapted well to the pandemic. “They came up with amazing projects from all around the world,” Polly said. She described how museums’ move to digitize exhibits and engage visitors virtually will have a transformative impact far beyond the pandemic.