Opening Faculty Meetings: Day 2

Embracing Diversity in Learning and Teaching
[all the posts about the opening session program: 1 2 3 4 5]

The morning after the movie. The second day of full faculty and staff meetings. We were raring to go!

THE PROGRAM – part two

The morning’s program began with a thirty minute participatory introduction to the workshops that would follow. Candy and I led a series of simulations designed to get people thinking about what it is like to have a learning difference. All of these simulations will be described in my next post.

Following the simulations were two sets of 45 minute workshops designed to get people’s neurons firing. All of the workshops adhered to the same sequence:

  • introduction of participants and facilitators (of which there were two or three for each workshop)
  • stimulation of the Recognition network (typically the showing of a 3-7 minute video)
  • tapping into the Affective network (some type of discussion or brainstorm)
  • engagement of the Strategic network (small group activity that included movement)
  • summation
  • filling out of Exit Cards

The workshops were varied, yet the content overlapped and if we drew a Venn diagram it would have a very dense middle!

The first set of workshops:

  • How multitasking impacts functionality
  • Designing lessons with the brain in mind
  • Does gender matter? A look at gender differences and their impact in the classroom
  • The Mind/Body Connection – helping students with motivation, attention & executive function
  • How to design lessons for a variety of learners
  • Introduction to xylophone playing
  • summer reading/movie discussion group

and the second set of workshops:

  • Culture in the Classroom
  • Making Math accessible for all learners & reducing math phobia
  • Assessments that accurately measure what students know
  • Stress and Learning – there is a relationship!
  • Drawing: Testing and Trusting Yourself…it’s about the journey
  • Acappella singing
  • summer reading/movie discussion group

At the conclusion of each session participants were asked to fill out Exit Cards (index cards) in response to these prompts:

  1. List an Ah-ha moment that you had.
  2. List one question that did not get answered.
  3. List one topic about which you would like to know more.

Student Panel
The morning wrapped up with a Student Panel moderated by the author of our summer reading book. Each student responded (including the moderator) to several questions designed to inform faculty about what it is like to be a student with a learning difference. The panel finished the morning with time for faculty questions.

Plans for Follow-Up
We have since entered all of the information from the Exit Cards into a Google Doc and will use this as the basis for our follow-up sessions in October, which just happens to be Learning Disabilities Awareness Month in the United States and also in Canada! Below are two of the students from the panel (that’s the moderator in white), flanked by Candy on the right and me on the left.



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