Inclusive Teaching and Learning – Blog Task 1 – Gender

Supporting Trans Students – Blog
It is clear from studying UAL’s Gender Diversity website that the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community are not talked about or understood well enough. The various articles emphasise the importance of using conversation and dialogue as a tool to educate. Such dialogue can benefit the staff as well as the students, making the university environment more inclusive to everyone. I believe I could use the website as an invaluable tool in my own teaching practice. Firstly by informing LGBTQ+ students of the help, support and communities available at UAL and secondly as a means to educate all students on the correct terminology and pronouns used when interacting with their peers. If indeed all students read the resources it would encourage positive conversation and a healthy understanding of an often overlooked topic.

Pay It No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson – Video
This video of interviews gives a brief insight into the life of Marsha P Johnson, an activist trans woman who struggled to be accepted for who she was, and throughout her life showed huge courage and kindness to those she encountered. Today programmes such as Ru Paul’s Drag Race highlight how far modern society’s perception of drag queens has changed, from persecuted to celebrated. Unfortunately, prejudice still exists in some communities, but certainly far less than in previous decades, thanks in part to people such as Marsha P. Johnson who was not afraid to challenge our perceptions through the way she lived her life.

I likened Marsha P. Johnson’s struggles to the artist and activist Keith Haring. Best known for his graffiti art in New York, his later work often addressed political and social themes especially homosexuality and AIDS. Nowadays Haring’s work is mainstream, popular and often imitated, although the core themes often ignored. Recently the clothing brand Uniqlo collaborating with the Museum of Modern Art in New York to produce a collection of Keith Haring apparel. The description on the Uniqlo website makes no mention of Haring’s foundation supporting young people with AIDS/HIV or the gay rights activism he was so heavily involved with.

Understanding Patriarchy, bell hook – Read.
The first and most striking message I took from this text is the notion that women are as prominent in creating patriarchal roles in the family home as men. Hooks talk about her experience of patriarchy in her home via violence from her father, she explains how her mother enforced these roles by complying and accepting his role of power. Hooks also highlights how boys that come from single-mum homes are just as likely to be taught patriarchal roles from their mothers as women in such households are far more likely to idealize the patriarchal male role and patriarchal men than women who live with patriarchal men every day’. She explains that is it unwise to put the sole blame on men, this will not help rid us of patriarchy, ‘Separatist ideology encourages women to ignore the negative impact of sexism on male personhood. It stresses polarization between the sexes.’

Following on from this theme, the second message I identified within the text is the idea that men are also victims of patriarchy. Men’s inability to express emotion is increasingly mentioned in current affairs. Samaritans statistics show the highest suicide rate in the UK in 2017 was men aged 40–44. In Understanding Patriarchy hook argues that patriarchal roles have made the show of venerable emotion a sign of weakness and lack of power. She recalls her brother being taught that a boy should not express feelings’ from a young age. Then, in adult life hook talks of her friends’ need to conform to patriarchal roles in order to be ‘noticed and valued’.

Including these themes in my own teaching practice – a brief
A great way to get students engaged and aware of a certain subject matter is to create a brief surrounding that topic. Providing students with a challenge can encourage a reaction where a lecture or presentation might not. The three resources in this reflective blog cover a variety of gender issues and could be used as starting points for a research-led project. Students could be tasked with creating a visual response to one of the three resources. The current student that I support is on Illustration and visual media at LCC, with him in mind this could be anything from designing a new book cover to making an animated interpretation of one of the themes.

Being tasked with creating a visual response means students are challenged to truly analyse and draw their own conclusions. This process of research and interpretation is an important part of higher education in art and design, it is crucial that students learn the skill of critical thinking and analysis. Tutorials and critiques on the work would then provide a comfortable environment within which a conversation that some individuals may find difficult to discuss can take place. Facilitating a conversation also provides an opportunity for students to inform their peers of any gender preferences they may have.

I was conscious of using the correct terminology whilst writing this piece. Even after researching and educating myself of the correct pronouns and phrases I still found it difficult. I apologise in advance if my text contains any errors and would greatly appreciate any feedback.

A Learning Model for the Future – Response to Aoun, J. 2017. A Learning Model for the Future. In Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence. MIT Press. pp45-75.

Notes from Aoun,J.2017.

This essay is about the effects of technology in our lives. It states that our current workforce is not equipped with the skills it needs for modern-day jobs or lack of them. The new discipline Aoun is suggesting in the essay is ‘Humanics’ which can be divided into three main literacies, Technological Literacies, Data Literacies and Data Literacies.

Firstly, she talks about how creative thinking can be encouraged by the way we teach.  Pure creative talent is a gift that only very few people in the world have but by being encouraged to think divergently it can develop creative thinking.

Cognitive thinking is where we aim at finding the single, correct, answer to a question or problem. We use data and options to decide on a final answer, this is the type of ‘thinking’ that advance computers are able to do. Divergent thinking is the creation of multiple responses in a flow of ideas and is associated with playfulness and willing to take risks.

Our current educational system does not encourage divergent thinking and is said to ‘kill creativity by stigmatising wrong answers’. I found the TED TALK by Ken Richardson extremely interesting. Sir Ken Robinson says ‘We don’t grow into creativity. We grow out of it, or rather we get educated out of it’ I work with a student studying IVM at LCC and he has Aspergers, he is an instinctively creative person and I am curious to think about how his disability may affect the way he thinks creatively.  We are told the knowledge of facts makes us clever or smart but I believe the ability to think divergently and creatively is an important skill to teach my students. Currently, I think schools and universities could be doing more to teach students to think creatively as it will be invaluable to them in work and personal life.

The Literacies- Technological, Data, and Human.

The new literacies arise from technology e.g. texts, blog, social network. These digital forms alter and extend our modern-day communication. The ability to read and write used to mean power and freedom, now the ability to network with both other humans and machine is of similar value and allow us to use the digital world to its fullest potential.

Technological is the understanding of mathematics, coding and basic engineering principles. The idea behind this is for people to understand the way our new form of communication and literacy work. This will enable us to use it to its fullest potential as coding becomes our common language. Letter and number have been studied in schools for hundreds of years as it was the fundamentals of human communication, now that technology is taking over this we must learn not only how to use technology but how it works e.g. how to make the new software program that will send image or data to each other.

Data literacies in short in the collection of information and how to read it.  The ability to read data can be extremely important in educating ourselves and becoming a way of advancing our knowledge. Aoun gives the example of being able to foresee ‘the spread of a virus across a continent to an individual’s dating preferences.’ P.57

Human Literacies is interacting with other humans. The ability to socially commutate and engage with others. I think this is the most important literacy because an office or university can have all the facilities and technology but if it cannot create personal relationships within their society it will not succeed in the modern world. Diversity is essential in human literacy for students to learn to their full potential.

Critical Thinking is about thinking over ideas in a skillful way and then applying them to create something new. Critical thought has many different layers; for example, the understanding and applying of facts to a question or understanding how people are motivated or how emotions can affect them. When all these are applied to the context of a situation is a person fully critically thinking. If a problem can be answered in a couple of yes and no answers a computer could resolve the issue but many real-world problems require critical thinking.

Systems Thinking is taking information and applying it to different areas to solve an issue or situation. A computer can gather all the data and apply it to its specific area but it does not have the ability to apply it to another area or areas as a human would if thinking systematically.

Entrepreneurship will be an important development in the digital workspace. As technology takes away job we must invent new ones which are why it should be important to teach the students. By teaching entrepreneurship, it allows them to fail and make mistakes in a safe environment, failure should be taught as a good thing and have the potential to create new ideas. Technology is not a bad thing but should be seen as a way for people to create new ways of working and find new fields that technology cannot yet master. Research is a form of entrepreneurship in that they collect and grown on valuable knowledge of trying and failing at their ideas.

Cultural Agility is personal experience across cultural situations. Although technology can help with translation and communication over long distances it cannot show empathy or understanding of someone’s culture, for example ‘excepting different behaviors from their employees’. p.71 I think we must teach our students the need to understand, empathise and collaborate with clients/ colleagues from very different backgrounds.

What these few captures explain to me is that a student does not come to a university to learn by just reading books or researching the internet. They learn from each other, seminars and experimentation. This involves teaching across subject areas on a project with experience in real life.

In the new model of learning it tells us students want to know how and what they are learning. This can be done by clearly indicating what is excepted of them in a curriculum.  Each lesson states the learning outcomes and how to build on system thinking and critical thinking. Students need to be able to understand how these new forms of teaching will help them in their goals not simply at university but in life. The main point that I understood from this text was although technology is enabling us to do more and more tasks a human would normally do, it/they cannot think creativity. Humans think creatively and have many ‘oceans of knowledge to cross’. This is showing the importance of teaching of thinking creatively and understand not only what technologies can do but what it cannot do.