Over the past year, UCAT has used our blog, Facebook Page, and Twitter account as platforms to stimulate more conversational and collaborative interactions among those who teach and those who support teachers at The Ohio State University. This year, we will continue to ask members of our community to provide insight into teaching principles and practices and to share their stories and perspectives.
We plan to introduce these upcoming conversations with fundamental questions regarding teaching, learning, and the larger social and psychological contexts of our academic and professional work. Recognizing that learning and transformation often involves feelings of discomfort for students and teachers, especially around topics that involve our sense of self, we will continue to invite community responses to topics that explain and challenge our notions of what teaching and learning mean to us, and where and how teaching and learning occur. We will ask what it means to teach and learn as “whole persons” whose non-academic lives can influence our presence in the classroom. Within each of these platforms, our colleagues from across campus can meet and interact; learn from and support one another; and share stories, histories, and challenges in order to enhance our abilities to engage with our students and our disciplines.
In August, for example, we will hear from facilitators and participants during our campus-wide Teaching Orientation (#toUCAT on Twitter; #toUCAT on Facebook) about how they intend to negotiate their multiple roles as teacher/student/person in the upcoming semester. The conversation may illuminate the skills and strategies from orientation which helped them find success at the beginning of their teaching careers at Ohio State.
Our September social media project will supplement and augment our on-campus workshop inspired by Terese Huston’s Teaching What You Don’t Know. We will be asking the participants from that workshop to reflect upon the benefits of teaching material about which they are not “experts” (#NewClasses on Twitter; #NewClasses on Facebook).
In October, we will create a space for discussion on the larger educational debate around “trigger warnings.” The concept has become a hotly-contested practice in both academic and popular culture lately and offers an opportunity for teachers to explore deeper issues around controversial topics in the classroom, class discussions, and how emotional responses to challenging material can be sources of invention and discovery if given appropriate guidance from a teacher (#TeachingControversy on Twitter; #TeachingControversy on Facebook). One question we will raise is, “How can emotionally and morally challenging material be presented such that students are ‘productively provoked’ and guided to mature as critical thinkers and responsible social agents?”
In November one of our final projects of 2014 will involve a variety of issues related to student and teacher wellness (#Wellness on Twitter; #Wellness on Facebook), and will focus on a performance by the InterACT Theatre Project for Social Change.
Through these and other projects, we plan to expand the ways in which we stimulate and host these interactive discussions. For example, we will be asking contributors to respond to at least one of our calls for reflection with a video entry as another medium to articulate their principles, describe their practices, share their stories, and speak from their unique perspectives.
What questions would you like to ask your fellow teachers?
UCAT’s presence on social media platforms is a place for your voice, so please talk to us if there is a topic you would like us to take up, or a question you would like us to pose to the Ohio State teaching community. Use the response form below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention #OSUvoices in the subject line of your message. Tell us why this topic matters to you, and why you think it is an important and interesting topic for our community of teachers and students.
Remember that you can keep up with other ongoing projects on Facebook, Twitter, and the Blog with hashtags #OSUvoices (on Twitter and on Facebook), #UCATstar (on Twitter and on Facebook), and, for more eclectic takes on teaching and learning, #edufunfridays (on Twitter and on Facebook).