Teaching can be an act of social justice and equity, suggested our recent guest speaker, Professor Dewsbury. Professor Dewsbury was born in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. He received his Bachelors degree in Science from Morehouse College and then both his Masters and PhD degrees in Biology from Florida International University. He is the PI of the Science Education And Society (SEAS) research program where his team explores the social context of teaching and learning from kindergarten to adulthood.
We hosted Bryan for a 90 minute virtual workshop, with colleagues invited from Henry Ford College, UM-Flint, and the University of Gdansk. I think it’s safe to say that most attendees wished for more. Not only was his presentation style and humor infectious, he noted that the faculty workshops that he runs on this topic can be several days long. What Bryan provided in the session was absolutely not all of the keys to inclusive teaching; it was inspiration and a call to make sure our learning spaces are inclusive, particularly through shifting our lens from teaching subjects to teaching students.
Watch the recording so that you can be similarly inspired, in particular to stop thinking only of the “what” of teaching and instead move towards our own “why” for teaching, minutes 19-28. You’ll notice that Bryan considers our campus to be in a good position to do this work at minute 11:55 and on. Starting around 43:45 you will hear Bryan’s approach to large intro STEM classes (“more intro than bio”) that included sacrificing 45% of the content because of the responsibility that the instructor has to set the student up for success in the discipline.
Teaching is a calling and inclusive practices help us connect our calling with the greatest number of students in our courses. If you are inspired by Bryan’s talk, here are some resources to build inclusive practices into your teaching to better support the “why” of the work that we do:
Dewsbury, B. (2020). Deep teaching in a college STEM classroom. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 15, 169-191.