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Class Constitution (#femDH)

We shared Cathy Davidson’s strategy for creating a class constitution at #femDH. I did a version of this exercise with the #BlackCodeStudies students and used Etherpad to take collaborative notes as we did. It worked better than I could have hoped. As a college teacher, it was terrifying. As a facilitator, it was electrifying. And for a moment these two identities of mine came together. As a result, I think, the class began to come together too.

They were also brilliant students who made it easy to take risks and try new things–and create community. So there was that too. 🙂

“Student-centered learning undoes many of the assumptions of traditional learning by making each student’s success the goal of the course.  That means there is no pre-determined set of outcomes, no standardized metric of success that each student must attain, no entirely fixed syllabus of content (with variations from an entirely open syllabus to one with “required coverage” and then optional elements), and so forth.

“You can recenter your class around open or student-centered learning practices in gentle ways (such as insisting on egalitarian ways of managing classroom conversation: https://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/2015/06/18/why-start-pedagog…).

“Or you can do the full radical version that I’ve been experimenting with for the last decade.  In that version, I begin by having students write, collectively, a “class constitution” examining and then agreeing upon every aspect of what, for them, constitutes a “class.”  All the terms of our engagement for the semester becomes subject to review, discussion, and examination.  (NOTE:  This is not for the faint of heart!)”

Source: Getting Started 5: First Class:Collectively Writing a Constitution | HASTAC