WHAT

The Team Teacher Reflection (TTR) is a guided set of immersive collaborative sessions designed for teacher teams (teachers of the same course program), aimed at making teaching more inclusive and supportive of/for a diverse student body.  TTR is a train-the-trainer initiative that empowers teacher teams to develop their capacity and confidence to enable a diverse student population to engage, belong and learn successfully. Moreover, TTR offers teaching staff tools and support necessary to constructively deal with challenges and questions in a diverse classroom.

HOW

TTR has two parts. TTR1 consists of activities and exercises that:

  • introduce teaching staff to a vocabulary based on theoretical concepts and frameworks to explore diversity and inclusion in education from different perspectives.
  • encourage teaching staff to translate theory into practice and to contribute to engaging conversations
  • allow teaching staff to enhance skills and teaching methods, based on students’ experiences, that contribute to improving sense of belonging in the classroom.

TTR1 can be implemented as a one-day session or can be disseminated over different sub sessions, depending on schedules and availability of teaching staff.

TTR2 is a follow up session in a focus group setting, in which teacher team members discuss the implementation and impact of TTR1-activities in their daily teaching practices. For example, teachers share their experiences with developed assignments and assess improvements and challenges faced.

TTR is linked to Dialogue Days (DD) and Community Mentoring (CM) in several ways. Firstly, DD- and CM-outcomes are used as input for TTR-sessions. For example, TTR-participants are invited to reflect on students’ and mentors’ perceptions of sense of belonging mentioned during DD- and CM-meetings. Secondly, TTR offers the possibility for reversed mentoring: students reflecting on TTR-related learning activities of teaching staff. Thirdly, (part of) teaching staff that participates in TTR also took part in the Dialogue Days.

WHY

There is an increasing awareness of the importance of inclusive learning environments in HE, supportive for all students. Paradoxically, most of efforts are placed outside the classroom (for example extra-curricular initiatives), while sense of belonging and the fulfillment of potential of students are to a large extent stimulated inside the classroom, that is: in interaction between teachers and students. TTR focuses on this interaction. Moreover, TTR specifically aims at teacher teams to ensure that the notion of inclusive education – and its consequences in terms of action – will be embedded in a more structural and sustainable way within a course program than is possible with a training with teacher staff from different course programs.

Timing

TTR has been piloted in 2019/20 Education programs/courses at Osnabrueck University, Edge Hill University, University of Porto and Erasmus University Rotterdam and will delivered in other programs in 2020/21.

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Participants

Main TTR-participants are teaching staff of the same course program, preferably teaching staff that also took part in the Dialogue Days. If possible, students participate as teachers’ mentors. This reversed mentoring is part of TTR2-activities.

Duration

TTR will be organized in different sessions through the academic year, starting in first semester. TTR has a total work load of approximately 16 hours, including preparatory assignments.



Follow Up

Follow up TTR Session (second semester), will look into assignments and assess improvements and challenges faced by teachers. The student participants reflect on these findings.

Team Teacher Reflection Sessions: Learning Objectives

Overall learning objectives:

The TTR1-program consists of different activities/exercises, each having their own learning objective(s). It is designed in such a way, that it guides teachers in a process of “getting comfortable with the uncomfortable”. Starting with a vocabulary to discuss sensitive topics, followed up with a critical self-reflection on one’s own framework of reference and cultural baggage, moving towards engaging in constructive dialogue in individual interactions, towards understanding how their individual actions relate to institutional power structures. The intended outcome is a range of ideas and insights teachers can put into practice to make their teaching more inclusive and enhance students’ sense of belonging. The table below gives an overview of the TTR1  activities/excercises and their learning objectives.

Activity/excerise Learning objective(s)
Diversity, Inclusion, Exclusion Teacher has gained a vocabulary based on theoretical concepts and frameworks to explore diversity and inclusion in education from different perspectives.

By being able to recognize and understand multiple perspectives, teachers are better equipped to foster a space that facilitates diversity of thought, which can contribute to sense of belonging.

Identity Teacher is able to reflect on one’s own identity and how it relates to the perception of others in both personal and professional context.

By being able to critically reflect on one’s own identity, both visible and invisible aspects, teachers are better equipped to create a setting in which students feel safe and encouraged to be their authentic selves. This can contribute to sense of belonging.

Listening at three levels Teacher is able to recognize different levels of listening and how this can influence a dialogue.

By being able to recognize these three different levels of interpretation, teachers are able to understand the questions and needs of students and offer the support necessary to contribute to sense of belonging.

Power walk Teacher is able to recognize power structures and how these can influence the lives of individual students on a daily basis.

By reflecting on possible student challenges from students’ perspective, teacher is able to a) recognize power distances between her/him and a diverse student body and b)  empathize with the specific realities of students and. This can contribute to sense of belonging.

Forum theater Teacher is able to apply constructive strategies and ideas in conflict situations in the classroom.

By practicing different approaches to de-escalate tense situations, teachers are better able to turn conflict situations into teaching moments that benefit all students. This can contribute to sense of belonging.

TTR2 is a follow up session in a focus group setting, in which teacher team members discuss the implementation and impact of TTR1- (and other iBelong)-activities on their daily teaching practices. The objectives of TTR2 are:

  1. To understand how the course is trying to develop/maintain a sense of belonging for incoming cohorts (with special attention to the Lock Down period).
  2. To identify any examples of how students have or have not engaged and belonged to the course cohort (with special attention to the Lock Down period).
  3. To explore the impact of the interventions on staff (attitudes/behaviour) and students (engagement/belonging/retention/success) with special focus on TTR. What went well in interventions, want went wrong?
  4. To assess the sustainability of the interventions. (what is likely to be continued, barriers to on-going implementation, other things that might happen as a result of the #Ibelong project) for coming academic years.