Colorado University Hosts Teacher Training to Fight the ‘White Supremacy’ of ‘Productivity’
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you feel a sense of urgency?
If so, I have horrible news.
And the revelation comes courtesy of the University of Colorado-Boulder.
The school recently hosted a seminar for teachers and graduate students on employing equity in class.
The Equitable Teacher Conference’s official webpage defines “equity mindedness”:
The outlook, perspective, or mode of thinking exhibited by practitioners who call attention to patterns of inequity in student outcomes, and are willing to assume personal and institutional responsibility for the elimination of inequity.
That sounds as if teachers — not students — are responsible for students’ grades.
If so, it’s quite a shift from ways of old.
Then again, equity is a major divergence from American equality, and change begets change.
Campus Reform reports obtained slides from one of UC-Boulder’s training sections, billed as “Anti-Racist Pedagogy and Decolonizing the Classroom.”
The segment waxed on the nation’s increasingly common “C” word:
Settler colonialism fundamentally relies on a logic of not seeing. In particular, a not-seeing of indigenous people’s lands in order to allow their colonial takeover and a not-seeing of how anti-immigrant xenophobia, white supremacy, and settler colonialism are mutually reinforcing.
Examples of the concept’s perking popularity:
Critique the (white western masculine) disembodied rationality focus of the education system.
Why send such a message? Perhaps that will be answered by future historians.
Meanwhile, UC-B wants those presiding over students to “help [them] become conscious of the assumptions and standards around bodies that were part of their colonial training (appropriate bodies, attractive bodies, bodies as indicators of meaning/morality).”
The workshop goes deep on social justice.
The practice sounds a bit like empowerment, but it’s also aimed to keep everyone “psychologically safe”:
- Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.
- Some experts define teaching for social justice as having beliefs with an emphasis on ethical values, care, and respect.
- Everyone in a just society will be able to develop and exercise their intellectual, social, emotional, and expressive capacities.
- In a just society, everyone affected by a decision will have a part in making the decision.
And if teachers really want to sock it to colonialism, they’ll put the kibosh on productivity.
Singing a song’s a superior substitute:
- Resist colonial and neoliberal coercion around time and productivity
- Consider flexible deadlines; giving multiple choices for due dates (for instance, over a week)
- Consider suspending penalties for late work — prioritize full engagement rather than timeliness
- Slow down the hurried pace of higher education by opening class with a freewrite, guided meditation, or song related to class themes
- Openly discuss the impact of time scarcity on the learning process
- Help students become conscious of the colonial morality around the use of time (worth=productivity)
Cultural Norms of White Supremacy:
- Perfectionism (Are students encouraged with a productive failure model?)
- Sense of urgency (Is there a culture of stressful decision making?)
- Quantity Over Quality
Of course, such claims are nothing novel.
As laid out in “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction” — used by the Oregon Department of Education to wipe out whiteness — characteristics of Caucasian calamity are (in part) as follows:
- Sense of Urgency
- Quantity Over Quality
- Worship of the Written Word
- Only One Right way
- Either/Or Thinking
- Power Hoarding
Back to teachers being responsible for students’ grades: If pupils were allowed to prioritize productivity, maybe they could earn good grades through merit.
For now, such a notion appears to be losing favor.
Not coincidentally, whiteness is additionally set to wane:
It’s a new day and a new way of accomplishing things.
The outdated method looked to work fairly well; but as it turns out, it was all a ruse:
So go out into the world, and be neither objective nor productive.
Thank you for your equity.
Cross-posted from Red State
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