Donna's LS Activity

Donna's LS Activity

by Donna DesBiens -
Number of replies: 3

Hi Sylvia and Terri, 

Draft of a possible experiential learning activity for Week 2 of a facilitated 4-week online faculty dev course focused on intercultural teaching and learning competencies. 

Group Learning Scenario: RRU faculty - who may know each other well, have slight acquaintance, or be brand new associate faculty from various locations in Canada (and occasionally the US). 

Preamble: In Week 1, participants are invited to engage in a scaffolded set of intro activities focused on developing awareness of one's own cultural and disciplinary identities, as they affect positionality in the classroom. Trust and relationship building activities include sharing culturally responsive intros, memorable intercultural experiences, and pedagogical values, as well as familiarizing with foundational intercultural research. In Week 2, the focus shifts to modelling and encouraging non-judgemental attitudes/openness towards 'other' values, perspectives, and positions in classroom dialogues and teamwork.  Again, participants are offered curated resources on the why, what, how, and when of various intercultural teaching and learning competencies... before being invited to engage in this activity.  

Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR) - Why and What? 

Issue: Instructor Preparation to Negotiate Common Intercultural Teaching Challenges:

  • Domestic students often resist teamwork with ESL international students
  • Dominant culture emotional reactivity to Indigenization/reconciliation topics & activities

Graphic of various emotional reactionsConfusion

Proposing HSR activity as a bridge to guiding critical conversations and intercultural teamwork in classrooms and as a possible model for a student classroom learning activity. 

Draft Invitation: The learning aim of this activity is to develop empathy about 'walking in the shoes of other,' by connecting with both your own and your colleagues' intercultural learning challenges before you have to 'go live' with your students. 


1. View the video Why Does Privilege Make People So Angry? (4:10). Listen to some thoughts on how misunderstanding and emotional reactions arise, and how to transcend that. Then post a short story about a time you felt you were not heard, seen, or respected that you feel AT EASE about sharing in this learning context. You can choose to share your story in video (up to 3 min) or written text (up to 250 words). You can also add lyrics, music, art, or other graphic elements to your story if you like 

2. Next, briefly respond in the same way to at least one other persons's story - preferably one that does not yet have another response. To practice listening online, without trying to fix anything or make any judgements, please only comment on what it felt like to listen to another person's story and any pattern connections you notice revealed in other stories. Tip: When you are 'listening,' notice when you form a right/wrong judgement, and let it go! 

3. At the end of the week, we plan to harvest all feedback and suggestions to improve future iterations of this activity.  

Looking forward to feedback on what we might stop, start, and/or continue in this activity to make it both effective and supportive. 

Warm regards, Donna

In reply to Donna DesBiens

Re: Donna's LS Activity

by Sylvia Bell -

Hi Donna,

The invisibility of privilege can make it difficult to uncover and unpack, so I'm happy to see that there will have been trust and relationship building activities prior to this one. 

Another positive is the warm tone of the writing, inviting people only to share what they are comfortable with. 

You make no assumptions about the previous experience your participants may or may not have had, but base the rationale for this on working with students. Good. In that way it is couched in terms of student success, not a perceived lack on the part of the new faculty. (Full disclosure, I might be on your list. I'll be on campus today to see the MAHEAL poster presentations.)

Giving choice in how to share works well. Sometimes personal stories are better reflected in ways other than prose.

One point of confusion for me was, "briefly respond in the same way...." I'm not sure if you mean, respond in the same way that you shared your own story, respond in the same way that the original poster shared, or something that I've missed.

Overall, I think this is an effective lesson plan.

Take care, Sylvia

In reply to Sylvia Bell

Re: Donna's LS Activity

by Terri Bateman -

Hi Sylvia, I agree that Donna created an effective lesson plan. I like the use of the video as a way to get thing started. It helps in an asynchronous situation. Maybe the privilege piece could be worked into the question of a time you didn't feel heard, seen, respected to connect the video to the activity.

The part I'm not sure about is whether it should be a group activity where everyone posts a story and then replies to one. I imagine it could be difficult to use pairs like you can f2f because if one person gets behind their partner can't complete the activity. Depending on the class size it might be a lot to have everyone read everyone else's stories. Maybe small groups could work through a few stories together.

As for the harvesting, it would be nice to have it student/participant led where they are coming up with the results of the week - could work for the small group option but maybe not for a whole group. Instructor could do a wrap up with the synthesis also.

In reply to Terri Bateman

Re: Donna's LS Activity

by Donna DesBiens -

Hi Sylvia, Terri & Beth,

Thank you all for the feedback. 

It's affirming to hear which pieces seem to work well, e.g. that trust and relationship building precede this likely vulnerable activity and the choice of HSR to start building faculty empathy. The next activity is about developing more equitable assessment for cultural 'others' so those pieces of feedback confirm the activity sequence for me.  

I'm also glad to hear that the language sounds warm, inviting, and focuses on working with students - that's what I was aiming for. 

In your generative feedback, all 3 of you also nailed activity aspects I was struggling with myself.   

On Sylvia's question about "responding in the same way," I only want to convey that responses should be succinct - long posts spell long time commitments for everyone in asynchronous.  Terri's feedback about forming small groups to share stories is helpful on this point too - it could take a lot of time to read everyone's posts and might even start feeling like a sad therapy group!  

Taken together with Beth's question about the vulnerability of whole class share, I think the idea of small groups is a better fit with the purpose of HSR. (Pairs might be a problem because of variable participation patterns). The relative privacy of small group Collaborate sessions or discussion forums is likely to feel safer and better support both the active listening practice and harvesting of patterns - first by the groups, and then include a facilitator synthesis at the end. And maybe model the Troika adaptation used in this share/feedback activity to come at the listening and harvest, while saving time!  

Thanks Terri, for your suggestion about connecting the privilege piece into the HSR question before they view the video.  That was still a loose end in my draft. And so important because 'privilege' is one of the big triggers for reactivity.    

So helpful! Thanks again, Donna 

PS Sylvia, the course runs in November - would love it if you can join in. I try to structure it to keep the time commitment to about 4 hours a week.