TEI Part 1

Apr 20, 2021 19:10 · 7166 words · 34 minute read

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It is 1\‘a0o’clock so we will be getting started. You can see the tech check on the screen and you can see the microphone icon on the bottom left of the screen. \ It is a toggle button you click on and off and the microphone will go on and off. Please leave your microphones muted during the session when you are not talking. \ There is a video button or you can click on and off and we will have chat. You can use the chat throughout the session and we have a number of people from our center of innovative teaching around learning online to help with the session today.

\ I could ask, um, MEGAN and Mike if the recording has started, please. \ Yes. We are recording. \ Okay. Thank you. \ Welcome to the spring 2021 Teaching Effectiveness Institute creating communities of hope. \ We are so excited to have you all online today. We have a great group from disciplines across NIU and from every college and we are so excited that each of you have taken time during this very busy meeting this week and prep for your spring semester to join us today for our annual, biannual Teaching Effectiveness Institute.

\ My name is Yvonne Johnson. I am the multimodal teaching coordinator in the Center For Innovative Teaching around learning. I will be the moderator for the session today. \ I would like to express my sincere thanks to my colleagues, Megan Holtz and Mike Taylor from the Center of Innovative Teaching and Learning for helping me with preparations for this event today. \ It has been a great time working with you all. Thank you very much. \ A quick overview of the session.

We will have introductory remarks from our Provos Dr. Beth Ingram. I will introduce the speaker, Dr.

02:16 - Kevin Gannon. We will have several different interactive sessions this afternoon and the event will conclude at 4:00\‘a0PM. \ At this time I would like to introduce our executive vice president and Provos Dr. Beth Ingram who will provide some introductory remarks. Please go ahead Provos INGRAM. \ Thank you Yvonne and thank you to all the organizers for the session today. I know it takes a lot of work to pull something like this together and I appreciate those efforts.

\ It is my pleasure to welcome you to the spring Teaching Effectiveness Institute. It is great to see faculty across the colleges and across the disciplines coming together to share information and learn from each other. \ I wanted to join you briefly to express my sincere gratitude for your efforts over the last year which were nothing short of amazing.

03:13 - \ We concluded not just one, but two extraordinarily challenging semesters. Throughout that disruption, your patience, kindness and collegiality has been a constant source of inspiration to me. \ Many of you have found incredibly (inaudible) to teaching remotely and I know that many of you are anxious \uc0\u8209 \u8209 I can count on you to create high quality learning experiences for them and your participation in this is evidence of this. You will engage them, challenge them, transform them, whatever form your classroom takes.

\ I think the topic for this year’s institute is welcome creating communities of hope. Most of you probably don’t know this, but I taught statistics for many years. I thought of the first day of class as one full of hopes. My hope that the semester would go well, that I would engender in my students the same love for data that I had. \ For my students, I’m sure it was hope that statistics would not be quite as difficult as their friends said it would be.

I think the part of creating a community within a classroom, adopting the right paradigm in the relationship between the instructor on the student. Moving from stage on the stage to guide on the side. \ I think a better quality was engendered in my classroom since students later in my career and I became more comfortable in letting the students take control of their own learning.

04:45 - \ I am grateful Dr. Kevin Gannon is here. I have read several of his blogs. I wanted to share a quote, it was a blog on banning the ban on technology in classrooms. He writes. Students cannot experience the transformative effects that higher education could and should inculcate if we refuse to treat them as responsible agents who are the co\uc0\u8209 architects of their learning. \ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi2395\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 If we approach teaching as an assertion of power, an imposition of our will, then we fail our students.

Only if we invite our students to actively participate in the collective scholarly enterprise that is their collegiate education will we succeed. Inviting the students into the community of scholars also invites them into the community of hope. \ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi1600\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 Thank you for giving me a few minutes to reflect on my own teaching experience, a few minutes to thank you for the effort that you made over the last year to wish you the best as we start on a new semester to hope that in the fall we get back to the kind of experiences we want for both ourselves and our students.

\ I wish you the best and I, I know this will be an engaging afternoon full of great activities.

06:07 - Thank you very much. \ Thank you Provos INGRAM for sharing your insights.

06:17 - We appreciate it. \ And now I am pleased to introduce our speaker Dr. Kevin Gannon who is the director of the Center For Excellence in Teaching and Learning and professor of history at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of Radical Hope, A Teaching Manifesto, as part of the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series from West Virginia University Press. Dr. Gannon is a regular contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education and his work has appeared in outlets such as Vox, CNN and Washington Post.

\ In 2016 he appeared in the Oscar nominated documentary 13th directed by Ava DuVernay and you can find him online at his blog the Tattooed Professor. Com and Twitter at the Tattooed Professor. \ At this time join me in welcoming Dr. Kevin Gannon as our speaker for the afternoon. Share an emoji in the chat to welcome Dr. Kevin Gannon. \ Go ahead Kevin. \ I will try that after unmuting my microphone.

07:58 - Good afternoon and thank you so much for having me here. \ You should be able to on your screen now see a title that coincidentally has the title for this presentation on it Creating Communities of Hope with my little editorial underneath in not so hopeful times. \ If you don’t see that, throw a message in the chat and let me know. I will assume that this awkward transition to Zoom screen sharing has worked. \ So, things got interesting in the 24\‘a0hours since I had put some of the final touches on my remarks and some of the images I wanted to share with everyone today.

\ I am a historian by training. Historian actually of race and racism and radical political movements in US history. \ Yesterday was kind of a thing and I want to acknowledge right upfront that we are doing faculty development work but we are doing it in a context where many of us are still trying to process everything that has been occurring and continues to occur whether it is politically, culturally, socially, oh, by the way there is a global pandemic still occurring.

\ I am going to be honest. It feels a little weird. Actually feels a lot weird to do a faculty development workshop as all of these things unfolded and continue to unfold in the background. \ On Twitter yesterday a friend of mine who is a new faculty member tweeted something out said do we still have to do faculty development work when there is a coup going on because our new faculty manual doesn’t say anything about that. \ I sort of chuckled but I think, much as our students are as well, we are navigating unchartered waters in so many ways.

We have done that since March. \ It is okay if you don’t feel you have the bandwidth to do this intense pedagogical reflection and work. It is okay to feel depleted. I think many of us are there. \ What I invite you to do and I will move on from this picture is beginning to participate today in ways that work best for you. \ If you don’t have the bandwidth and are sort of here to sort of active or passively see things and get some ideas and don’t have the energy or bandwidth to do anything more than that, that is absolutely fine.

\ Your presence here is enough. I am going to provide all the materials I used today to Yvonne and the web link so folks have access to the materials I use as well as the stuff I link in the slide. \ So, I invite you to be here today in the way that works best for you. I want to acknowledge the fact that will look different for each one of us and a lot of us are sort of trying to manage a number of different things cognitively and emotionally at this time.

\ You have a spring semester coming up and my institution here at Grand View University in Des Moines we started spring semester on Monday. So I feel a bit like one of those circus performers trying to balance, plates, cups and spinning objects everywhere. \ I am not quite sure if I am going to be able to keep all of them up in the air. \ With that said, again I am glad you’re here.

11:40 - I am honored to be invited to spend some time with you this afternoon to think about teaching and learning, to think about our colleagues, our sense of vocation and what it is we do and why we do it and care so much about it even in times as just weird and confusing and complex as the ones we are in. \ To get us thinking a little bit about what we are looking forward to in the spring, I would like for you in the chat box in Zoom, if you could I am going to ask for a little bit of word association here.

\ What I would love for you to do is first in the chat box, if I can get my cursor to the right place, if you could put a word or phrase or something like that that answers this question.

12:30 - \ What gives you the most anxiety when you think about our upcoming semester. I will let you know, I wrote this question and thought about this yesterday morning realizing that answers to that might be a little bit different given the intervening events. \ So seeing a lot of things that resonate with me certainly coming through here. \ The bandwidth that we have, motivation, managing technology, I see one of you pointed out you are switching to Zoom and hope it works.

As someone who has become basically our account administrator for Zoom at my university, I share those with you on a daily basis. \ A lot of things, faculty, student fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, managing multiple needs and demands and of course, you know, the real anxiety that hangs over a lot of us as well, getting Covid. \ Health concerns. What happens if me or those close to me or my students get sick and what do we do. \ And I see a few responses as well where folks are pointing out loving the live classroom, the face\uc0\u8209 to\u8209 face classroom and hoping one day we can get back to that sort of thing, the things we want to do, the things that energize us and engage in ways beyond sending a reminder e\u8209 mail.

\ What I also see in the chat are a number of us who identify things that I think our students would be able to identify with as well. Right. \ Juggling family and professional responsibility. How am I going to keep things going the way they need to go if I were to get sick or something were to intervene with the lab classes or other classes I am responsible for. \ I have got 2 teenage children, one in junior high and one in high school doing fully online learning which is why I am online in campus not at my house, because we don’t have the Wi\uc0\u8209 Fi bandwidth for all 3 of us to do this video conferencing thing at the same time.

\ I think one of the other things we have identified here and we have certainly been aware of since our shift to emergency remote teaching in March was we are existing and our students don’t come to us from a vacuum. So all of these things that folks are trying to balance, right. \ Family, health, jobs, professional obligations, teaching, learning, sleeping. Getting groceries, financial precarious situation. Managing the bandwidth depletion and anxiety that comes with that.

\ So there is a lot. Right. \ I think what this exercise accomplishes, I think it is useful for us to see certainly that we are not the only ones who have the anxiety, who have these things weighing upon us as we approach the semester, that we are not alone. That we have colleagues in the community around us who are also wrestling with these same things. \ We find our people. \ Right. We find our community. We find our support that way. \ I think this is worth a conversation we are having with our students as well as we inaugurate the spring semester to show our students the same thing.

\ They are not alone. The concerns, anxieties and the things they are nervous about are not things simply unique to them but they share in common with their peers and our communities as well. \ Sometimes that very simple although not always apparent realization can be a powerful insight and very helpful as well. \ On the other side of the coin now what I would like for you to do, we will do a little word association again, it may seem sort of odd to ask about this, but what are you most hopeful for in the coming semester.

What gives you hope to pursue what it is that we are after coming into this now second semester of weird pandemic teaching. \ Throw a phrase, a word or your thoughts here in the chat. \ Seeing a few vaccines. Yes. Right. \ Support you are getting from your campus.

17:09 - That is a great thing. That is one that I am glad to see show up in here. \ Not the first time doing this. Yes. \ You know, there is some comfort. There are, we have learned a lot from our abruption in the spring. \ What I love to see here is there are so many identifying things centered on your students.

17:35 - Connecting with students, helping your students build community. One of you in the beginning put it is the students alone that give you hope for the coming semester. \ I love that because this is what it is about. \ See what our students have done to persist in their higher educational journey is really impressive. \ I know on my own campus we offer some online and hybrid classes in certain programs but most of our full\uc0\u8209 time day students do not take those classes.

\ When we shifted online for the rest of the spring and coming into the fall we did Hy\uc0\u8209 Flex and there was a significant learning curve. We had students living in quarantine or 2 time zones away or multiple time zones away for international students that were still doing everything they could to be in, speaking broadly, class. \ And to be a part of that community and to continue their educational journey and I have never been a big fan of that discourse of students are coddled and students are snowflakes and all that.

\ I think if we look at what students did collectively to be able to continue their education with everything else going on against the background of a global pandemic, that shows grit and resilience to me and that fills me with a lot of hope as well. \ Because I think what we do see is there wouldn’t have been that sort of grit and persistence if there wasn’t a feeling from our students that this was essential and worth it. Who makes it essential and who makes it feel like it is worth it? \ The people that our students are in contact with in their academic journeys most often and that is you in the classroom as their instructor, their mentor, as their advocate, as their support, as their friend, as their cheerleader, whatever role that might look like in the various shifting context of our educational journey during Covid.

\ There is a lot to look at and feel hopeful about which may seem counterintuitive. \ I published a book with hope in the title. The release date was April 1st right as Covid was closing everything down. Ever since then I had people ask what is your book about? I would be like, um, hope. \ It may seem sort of weird and counterintuitive but what I would like to suggest is approaching hope as a practice, as an ethic, as a pedagogical philosophy can do a lot to help us sustain the work that it is that we are doing.

\ As I just saw pointed out in the chat here, the locus of control is external to us. \ That is a great way to put it. We might feel a drift on board so how might we approach the work we are doing especially for this spring with an ethic of hope. \ What does that look like? \ What does it look like when Covid refuses to go away right now? \ This was the weekend before our spring semester started. My state has, shall we say, not delt very well with this public health concern.

20:58 - It turns out magical thinking is not a strategy. \ So, this is the back drop for yet another semester that we have where everyone’s anxiety level seems to be penned to these numbers which are once again consistently rising.

21:14 - \ Of course even in the time of Covid it certainly was not the pandemic that occupied our attention solely. \ What has happened in the months since Covid laid its footprint across our society is many of the open wounds, the ragged edges of injustice, racism and violence in our society were laid bare. \ We can no longer avoid looking at what is right in front of us. How many of our students are on one side or another of these lines? \ How many of us in our community? \ In Charlottesville the Unite the Right march several years as this is a famous photo that came out of that.

\ This is a photograph that stays with me. The person in the foreground at the time of the photo was a college student, history major.

22:17 - There was an interview with him where he described how what he was learning in history reinforced his views about the destiny of the white race, as it were, in a (inaudible) nationalist state.

22:30 - \ As a historian who studies race and racism is it possible for someone to journey through higher education in an academic program and have that journey give them what they think are the materials to do this? \ To carry a torch through Charlottesville Virginia in support of an ethno\uc0\u8209 nationalist thing. \ How do we have hope with all of this infusing the nooks and crannies of our public discourse and the very error it seems our students are trying to preach.

\ When I talk about hope, I think it is important to point out there are a few things that I am not going to do. \ I want to be very clear about that. I am not going to be a cheerleader. \ Sometimes we use the term hope like I have hope in the future. You know, like a hallmark card slogan. That sort of airy declaration doesn’t have any substance to it. \ If would just say yes the future will get better because I have hope, what are we doing there? Are we abdicating our own role and own responsibility in bringing that future about by off loading that into a statement that just because time passes, things will get better? \ Is that what we are about? \ I don’t think that is a very fruitful direction for us and certainly isn’t what I mean when I talk about a practice of hope or building communities of hope and higher education.

24:04 - \ I am not simply going to be a cheerleader.

24:06 - I am not going to throw vague inspirations phrases at you and pretend it is development or meaningful interaction. \ I am also not going to have a program of 5 classroom techniques that will solve all of your problems. \ There are, I am not going to promise universal solutions and nothing that I say here today is going to have applicability across a hundred percent of teaching and learning context.

24:34 - \ The only person who can promise something to fix all the problems you have is Phil Swift here with his Flex Seal family of products.

24:40 - I am not Phil Swift. I cannot fix everything. We cannot fix everything all at once and we need to keep that in mind. \ I am not going to be a doomsayer either. \ Things are tough. Obviously reckoning with that is important. We can’t move towards a better future without an honest confrontation with our present. \ That honest confrontation with our present in the last 24\‘a0hours has gotten really weird, negative and complicated. \ If we use that to again take the off ramp and move into a place of hopelessness, that brings apathy, that brings detachment, cynicism and all of those places are where teaching and learning go to die.

\ So yes things are bad. \ But if all we do is forecast doom out of it again we are e\uc0\u8209 lighting our personal responsibility to do the work to make society better. \ Let’s be honest about where we are. Right.

25:45 - \ Let’s have this unflinching look at our present, both within the sphere of higher education specifically, but then in the larger sociopolitical context as well. \ I am not telling you anything you don’t know when I posit we are in a unique situation. As a historian my sarcastic rejoiner to myself would be every situation is unique. That is why it is called history. Change is the only constant. \ What we have done since March is unprecedented at the scale that we have (inaudible).

We need to acknowledge that. \ That is hard work. That is heavy lifting and it has depleted a lot of our reserves and our bandwidth. \ We have also learned that fully online or hybrid flexible or Hy\uc0\u8209 Flex teaching may not be the optimal answer for every teaching and learning institution. \ At my institution, a small liberal arts college, we are struggling with how you replicate the upper level seminar experience, the classic everyone dissect a text around a small seminar table, how do you optimize that for a class where some people attend in person and some Zoom in video conferencing.

\ How does that look? It is not the optimal choice. We have to acknowledge that. There is no one size fits all solution. \ On most days either we nor our students are okay. And it is okay to not be okay. \ If we try as educators ourselves to put on that front that everything is great, our students see through that, we can’t sustain it and it depletes us. \ As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. \ I think as well it is important for us to focus on the fact that sometimes the times we are in have some of those occasions.

\ There aren’t any great options. One of the things I was struck by in March as we moved to the emergency remote teaching is there was a sense in our campus planning groups and administrator work groups if we thought hard enough we could come up with the solution that would answer the problems without having to shift to online learning. \ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi2395\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 There was something out there and if we innovated or discussed or got out of the box willingly or hard enough we would find that perfect silver bullet option.

\ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi1600\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 Sometimes that option, in fact a lot of times that option ain’t there. I think it is worth thinking about if there aren’t any great or perfect options, sometimes we have to be okay with the one that is the least worst. \ That does not sound very inspiring. It is certainly not something that marketers would put it, or an institution, come to our university because we are the least worst.

\ But again be honest about where we are. \ The least worst option is still better than the worst worst option. \ If that is what we need to be about, I am okay with that. \ In the time we are in, none of us know completely what we are doing. I am an experienced online instructor I have done research, consulting, online well before Covid times. I still feel lost half the times with the classes I am teaching whether fully online or hybrid flexible format.

\ I am trying to learn in the same breath where I am responsible for helping my faculty colleagues learn these as well. We have to start from that place what we call not yetness. We are not there yet. \ Neither are students. \ If we embrace that not yetness and realize we are at points on a continuum, then we are going to be able to have the capacity to do the things that we need to be doing. \ Then finally right now things are just kind of crappy for a lot of folks.

\ Whether they have a relative who is sick or if they are sick or facing the loss of a job, if our students are significant income earners for their own family situation, all of these things are weighing upon our students in the way they weigh upon us and family members as well. \ As we think about the learning spaces, the teaching and learning spaces we are creating for our students this spring, we need to make room for the fact that not everybody is going to have their best selfs with them all the time.

\ Sometimes not even some of the time. \ Other than that, everything is great. \ So if you have seen the Lego movie, I guarantee you have the song running through your head. \ You are welcome for that ear worm. \ Again, there is a difference between being cynical I think and being honest about where we are. \ If we want to have any hope of having a practice that brings about a better status quo, that brings about the type of meaningful change that we see higher education can do, we need to be unflinchingly honest about our present and what our options are within it.

\ So what are the lessons that we get from this spring shift to emergency remote teaching? \ What are those lessons? \ What can we no longer ignore about our students and our students’ learning? \ So we have, you know, a lot, I have heard a lot of rhetoric depending on whether it is higher ed or a general wow, we can’t run from this fact any more. \ I think Covid has laid bare some of the things that we do on an intellectual level but not on a personal or visceral level that we do now.

\ Once again I will invite you to use the chat window here. We are going to save the chat log from this presentation. \ What I am interested in are what are the things that you feel like you can no longer ignore, not to say that you were ignoring it before, but what has now stood out in maybe more urgent or fresh relief for you since our shift to kind of pandemic instruction in March? What are some of the truths that you think need to be front and center for us? \ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi2395\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 Fairly consistently already I am seeing in the chat equity, inequity, problems with equities, student anxiety as well.

\ \pard\tx800\tx2080\tx2400\tx3200\tx4000\tx4800\tx5600\tx6400\tx7200\tx7680\pardeftab720\li961\fi1600\ri-1\sl-297\partightenfactor0 \cf0 Structural inequity, access to resources, amount of struggle our students are going through. \ I saw the disconnect between my lived experience and that of my students. \ Absolutely. I think about this a lot. Right.

32:37 - \ Mental health and the impacts on student learning, what are our student burdens, what are they carrying with us. \ They are not being students to become academic professionals. They are in school to learn to survive. Great insight. \ Why are students here? Why do they do the things they feel to persist. (Inaudible) mental health issues, anxieties. \ We knew, the research was showing us even before Covid that student mental health was one of the most rapidly expanding areas of concern not just for student life professionals or higher education in general.

\ About 30\‘a0percent of our students were entering college with a diagnosis of anxiety, social anxiety or some mental health issue that they self\uc0\u8209 reported, the students self\u8209 reported could impose significant barriers to learning. \ That is before Covid. That is before the summer we had. That is before everything that unfolded this fall into early 2021. \ Right. That is not going to go away. The students who are in high school now, you know, I think of my daughter as a high school sophomore.

\ You know, what happens as a result of this? Students who are coming of intellect, coming of age in an intellectual sense. Students who are intellectually maturing. Students who are beginning this journey in higher education or contemplating doing that very soon. \ Think about from that student’s perspective how many institutions have failed them as they have been coming of age intellectually. \ What are the effects of that? This is going to be a set of questions that are with us for a really long time.

\ As you identified here in the chat, you know this, I am not telling you anything you are unaware of, but the scale and scope of the work that we are going to need to bring about in terms of creating community, in terms of creating spaces where meaningful challenging learning can occur, but do so in ways that acknowledge our student’s humanity and everything that comes with that. \ Therese puts in the chat empathy is more important than ever. \ Absolutely.

Education. Certainly higher education at its best helps provide our students a set of tools with which they can develop the capacity for empathy. For seeing things from another, the other’s perspective and understanding all of the impacts that that has. \ So the work that we are about is crucial and so the second part of this question I have shared up on the screen with you I think is a really important one. \ Now that we have this knowledge or that we have seen this knowledge kind of reemphasize or reaffirm for us, what are we going to do with it? What are we going to do about that? \ I am going to invite you to hold onto some thoughts about that question.

\ Because we are going to come back to it a little bit later on in the afternoon in terms of what are we going to do with the knowledge, with the experience, with the perspective that we have gained since March. \ That was a really long introduction focusing on a lot of really negative sort of things to start a discussion about hope. \ Right. \ You are probably thinking to yourself this was called Communities of Hope. We have been going for a while now and all we are talking about is everything that sucks.

I want my money back. Right. \ This is where I think we need to think about what it means when we say we want to build a practiced sustained in hope and build communities of hope in higher education. \ Rebecca Solnit this wonderful essay she wrote in early 2005 called hope In the Dark. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it.

36:46 - I go to it often. \ I think what Solnit talks about when she is asking from a place of hope is a way for us to conceive a really important, really I think essential way for us to frame our practice. \ Hope is not a lottery ticket, Solnit says, you can sit on the sofa and clutch feeling lucky. You can’t have hope that it is going to get better and assume by that. Hope is an axe. You break down the doors with it in an emergency. Metaphor. Right. \ The first time I read it I got that scene from the Shining in my head where Jack Nicholson had access through the motel door.

Here is Johnny. Maybe that is not the way we want to do it but this is a metaphor and it is done by design. \ This is an axe with which we break down doors in an emergency. To hope Solnit says is give yourself to the future. \ Most importantly that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable. \ When Solnit talks about hope here, she is not saying everything is great now so you hope to sustain that into the future. \ What Solnit is asking and suggesting and recommending that we do is the worst our present conditions seem to be, the more urgent this commitment to the future becomes.

\ Because how else does the present become inhabitable otherwise. \ There is some really interesting research that has been done by folks like Peter Felten out of Elon University and colleagues. \ What this idea of hope means in terms of practice and improvement for college students. \ What does hope look like for a first year college student who has not been academically successful and runs up against that first semester GPA barrier of adversity. \ How do we instill a sense of hope in the Solnit sense for our students, we will commit to a better future which will give meaning to our unpleasant present.

\ What does that look like for students. \ What Felten comes up with is a mathematical equation for students to feel that they have a meaningful sense of hope, Felten argues, 2 key components need to be in place. \ One, they have to have a sense of agency. \ In other words if there is a better future out there for a particular student, that student has to understand they have a role, perhaps the role to play in bringing about that better future. \ But that sense of agency alone is not enough, isn’t sufficient by itself because we also need a sense of direction, pathways on how to employ that agency to actually bring about that better future outcome.

\ So in my own undergraduate experience, um, I think really this resonates with me, this equation resonates with me because of my own undergraduate experience my first semester was kind of a disaster. \ I graduated high school from Fairfax County Virginia outside of Washington DC, one of the most wealthy, well resourced school districts in the entire country. I did not come from wealth but from the magic of districting I went to a school that did. \ I did well in high school.

I don’t know how I did well, but I did well enough to go to college. In retrospect, I didn’t have the tools or aptitudes in my intellectual or cognitive toolbox to do with the expectations as well as the increase in unstructured time. \ I was used to doing well quite honestly without a lot of effort. I was kind of a juvenile delinquent punk in high school. I came to college and (inaudible) course of study. \ My first semester was the first F I got in my life.

A D in the 4 credit \uc0\u8209 \u8209 and getting kicked out because of my grades.

41:08 - \ It was a reality check. I made some bad choices.

41:13 - Adopted some unproductive strategies but I didn’t see a way out. \ That initial feeling, I remember this vividly like what the hell am I going to do? \ Sitting home over the holiday break I have been in college a semester and I am screwed.

41:28 - I have lost the scholarship. I lost the honors program. I lost things I depended on to pay tuition and how am I going to fix this. \ I didn’t know if I could and I certainly didn’t know what pathways were available to me to fix that situation. \ Ultimately I was able to benefit from great faculty advising and peers who helped me find the structure my first semester was lacking. \ It was an uneven journey after that but ultimately I graduated and went onto graduate school.

42:04 - \ I remember that sense of hopelessness. \ How many of our students are in that place if the fall semester, for example, was the first collegiate semester. They are trying to navigate all the things that go along with college in this weird environment. \ How do they get things better? How do students see hope? \ We need to create spaces where students are able to define their agency but see the pathways that they can take towards that better outcome in the future as well.

\ And in fact you can even modify this equation a little bit. So rather than hope seaking agencies because pathways maybe hope is the product of multiplying agencies and more than one pathway. \ How do we get our students to a place where they see their own agency but where they can also identify the paths, the steps, the actions, the commitments they need to make. \ How do we support and affirm them in those actions and commitments to help them operate from a place of hope? \ Hope is as (inaudible) put it, make sense for those to understand the context in which we find ourselves.

\ In order for it to satisfy that ontological need, Freire says hope demands a anchoring in practice. Hope is the axe in which you break down the door in an emergency. \ It is one thing to say we create communities based on this stance grounded in hope but that hope has to be operationalized. The agency and pathways part has to be there. \ I am a big fan of critical theory as well and even if you are not, there is still really vivid quote from the Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci the crisis he was talking about the crisis of 1920’s as Italy descended into fascism.

The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this \uc0\u8209 \u8209 Slavoj Zizek translated from Gramsci a little more poetically. The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born but now is the time of monsters. \ That language at first blush you may see this seems overrun, seems overdramatic. But this is the time of monsters in many ways. \ So how do we, how do we help our students be in this space where it appears at least in many direct and relevant ways that while the old world may be dying and the new world is struggling to be born we are in this interregnum, this time of monsters, threatening, scary, touching upon the base of our anxieties and fears.

\ That can produce some really powerful impulses and behaviors and frames of reference for our students which can make things really difficult and problematic as well. \ Given that, what is a pedagogical praxis, a blending of theory and practice rooted in hope look like. What is a pedagogical praxis rooted in hope look like during the time of monsters? \ What might that be? \ What might it look like in a largely online world such as the one in which many of us are navigating now.

\ So one principle I want to put out in front of us right away is that when we make decisions based in fear, we start to act like hoarders.

46:12 - \ We want to bring all the things, the resources that we think we need to survive and that we see as scarce, we want to clutch those things even tighter. I am in a desert. I have to hoard all the water I can find. \ Because that gives us, I have the stuff, right, now I feel like I am more in control of the situation. I think one thing that we need to be able to acknowledge is that for many of us, I know this is the case for me, when we did the shift from emergency remote instruction in the spring and many of us are teaching in blended environments that are unfamiliar to us and students, the biggest sense we have is loss of control.

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