Besides establishing a supportive and respectful classroom climate, it is essential to build the activities introduced in this guide into a continuous learning process, rather than using them as stand-alone activities detached from the broader context of your course or workshop. In addition, some adjustment may need to be made to learning activities and reflection/discussion questions included in this user guide based on your teaching needs and objectives.
For example, you may think of adding significant historical events of your discipline to the timeline, discuss with learners how certain events in the timeline have impacted your discipline or how the events are described in your discipline. In addition to contextualizing the learning activity in your particular teaching setting, it is important to explain why you are implementing the activity in terms of its educational value. Without contextualization and rationale, learners may feel as though they are being put through a social experiment and feel resistant or hesitant to actively engage in the learning experience.
As you design your session with any of the learning activities, the issues you need to take into account include:
- What is the purpose of implementing the activity?
- How is the activity related to the broader learning context (e.g., learning objectives of the session, course objectives, the disciplinary context, participants’ interest)?
- How could the activity be modified to make it relevant to the learning context?
- Are the participants cognitively and emotionally ready for the activity? If not, how can I prepare them?
- What do they know about the topic addressed in the activity? If there is a knowledge gap, what is it? How could it be filled?
- Is there a trusting relationship among participants that would allow them to take a risk to explore different aspects of their identities and to engage in difficult conversations together? If not, how could the learning activity be modified? Or, what could I do to develop a stronger relationship before facilitating the activity?
- Am I ready to facilitate the activity? If not, how will I become ready?
- What do I know about the topic addressed in the activity? If there is a knowledge gap, what is it? How could it be filled?
- Do I have strong rapport with the participants?
- Am I ready to deal with a challenging moments that may arise from the activity, such as participants’ resistance, confusion about their identities, and trauma? What kinds of resources and support are available for me to deal with conflict or crisis? (e.g., Do I have colleagues to help me with the follow-up process? Are there accessible counseling services for participants and myself?)