During a recent workshop, TAs learned foundational knowledge and skills for building toward socially-just classroom communities. Keep reading for a learning activity you can do on your own and strategies you can start implementing right now.
Learning Activity: Exploring the Self
Consider 3 social identities you hold. Then, open up a blank page and reflect.
- How do these identities show up or influence how you navigate your role as a TA?
- How do your identities influence your relationship building and decision making in your department?
- What makes you feel welcomed, included and validated within these identities?
Strategies for Action
- Do the Self Work. Interrogate your identities, your positionality, and how you exist within these systems.
- Acknowledge and Embrace Differences. Who do you center in your communities? What stories are celebrated? What experiences validated?
- Challenge your Assumptions and Beliefs. What must you unlearn? What bias do you hold? What stereotypes are you leaning on?
- Normalize Being Wrong and Asking for Help. Share times that you struggled or needed support. Provide space for questions.
- Build Authentic Relationships. Practice vulnerability, participate in cultural exchange, invest in the group by intentionally engaging.
- Develop the Skill of Being Accountable. Acknowledge, apologize, and act. When harm is done, do something about it.
- Utilize your Network. Reach out to fellow instructors; find support to amplify your impact.
- Multicultural Student Center (https://msc.wisc.edu)
- Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (https://lgbt.wisc.edu)
- McBurney Disability Resource Center (https://mcburney.wisc.edu)
- International Student Services (https://iss.wisc.edu)
- Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement (https://diversity.wisc.edu)
- Reflecting on Social Justice Foundational Concepts https://lo.library.wisc.edu/DEI_foundations/
- Including & Navigating Race in the Classroom https://lo.library.wisc.edu/DEI_inclusiveclassroom/
The mission of Social Justice Education Programs is to cultivate learning opportunities that develop and support self-exploration, critical dialogue, and the capacity to build just and inclusive communities.