Episode 6: Education as a Practice of Freedom: Inclusive Classroom Conversations

Guest: Professor Christy Clark-Pujara

In this episode, we talk with Christy Clark-Pujara, Professor of History in the Department of African American Studies, about how she makes classroom discussions more inclusive. Christy shares proactive steps that instructors can take to create an inclusive classroom atmosphere, as well as tips for facilitating discussions around challenging topics. She also delves into why understanding the history of UW-Madison matters for instructors and students in any discipline.

See the transcript for this episode.

The L&S Exchange Podcast is brought to you by L&S Teaching & Learning Administration and produced by the Instructional Design Collaborative. This podcast is recorded on ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial.

Join the Conversation

How did this episode make you think? What’s on your mind about inclusive teaching? Leave us a message on Spotify for Podcasters, respond to a poll using the Spotify app on your mobile device, reply with a comment at the bottom of this post, or send us an email. We may ask to feature your contribution in this or a future episode.

Conversation Starters

  1. Students enter L&S courses with a variety of experience and confidence. What might be challenging for students to talk about in your discipline or course? What language might need to be defined?
  2. Professor Clark-Pujara describes her calm and confident approach to correcting a student who has made a mistake in a classroom conversation. Taking into account your own identity and your classroom setting, how would you approach such situations? What can help you remain calm? How might you practice balancing authority and generosity?
  3. Classroom conversations can benefit from co-created expectations and guidelines. How might you incorporate student voices into setting the parameters for classroom discussions?
  4. All instructors have had a moment or two when they’ve made a mistake in the classroom. Reflect on a personal moment and consider how you responded at the time. How did your mistake and your response affect students? How might you respond in the future? How might sharing your mistake with students benefit their learning? Consider sharing this experience with a trusted colleague.
  5. Professor Clark-Pujara notes that every discipline has a history. What local historical or artistic contexts are important for understanding your discipline today? How might you learn more about these contexts and share them with your students?
  6. Within your discipline, who has been welcomed, hired, and supported? Whose voices are heard in your disciplinary scholarship, and whose are missing? What might this mean for students in your classroom?

Further Reading & Resources

In this episode we mentioned, were inspired by, or wondered about the following resources and topics.

  • Looking to get your course started on the right foot and create a welcoming classroom environment? Check out these ideas for the first week of class, including an example activity to co-create classroom expectations with your students.
  • The Discussion Project is an interactive experience for UW-Madison instructors to learn strategies and evidence-based practices for leading effective and engaging classroom discussions.
  • The Humanities Education for Anti-Racism Literacy (HEAL) project draws on humanities research to support anti-racist pedagogy in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.
  • Visit the Our Shared Future website to learn about the First Nations of Wisconsin and the ancestral land that UW-Madison occupies. Access resources and primary sources to use in your courses and discover relevant events happening on campus.
  • Dive deeper into your historical and contemporary setting–from archaeology to architecture–by taking a First Nations Cultural Landscape Tour of campus. You can request a tour for your department, class, or other group. Learn more about the Cultural Landscape Tour and Indigenous landmarks on campus through University of the Air’s interview with Aaron Bird Bear and Daniel Einstein.
  • Learn more about a group of UW-Madison faculty, staff, and graduate students who are developing modules through an NEH-funded project to teach the history of land-grant universities, like UW-Madison, and the dispossession of Native lands.
  • Two texts that have influenced Christy Clark-Pujara’s teaching are available online through the UW Library: Frederick Douglass, “Love of God, Love of Man, Love of Country” (available in an anthology) and bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress.
  • UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Experience is a vision for the total student experience that combines learning in and out of the classroom, with students engaging in four areas of intellectual and personal growth.

Production Credits

Producer: David Macasaet
Associate Producer: Molly Harris
Audio Engineer: David Macasaet
Audio Editor: David Macasaet
WiscWeb Administrator: Laura Schmidli
Post-Production & Studio Support: Erika Schock
Development Producer: Jonathan Klein
Planning Group: Jonathan Klein, David Macasaet, Molly Harris, Laura Schmidli, Erika Schock, Antonella Caloro
Executive Sponsorship: Shirin Malekpour

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