Humanities

Equitable Academic Discussion Routines

This activity follows an adjustable sequence of steps and rules for engagement to ensure that all students, even in large classes, are able to find each session clear, accessible, rigorous, and relevant and to feel that the classroom culture offers them an equal opportunity to speak. As part of these routines, hands are never immediately called on when the instructor asks a question. Instead, all students are expected to develop an answer and then collaborate with their peers to develop a group answer, and a representative from each group shares the group’s response. Rules for engagement, explicit criteria for meeting and exceeding expectations, and transparent discussion routines ensure that all students can access the discussion and be optimally challenged during class.

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Reasoning to the Best Conclusion

Students are asked to write down a weird or random fact about themselves on a sticky note and to pass it to the person to their left. Each student is then asked to brainstorm logically possible explanations of the fact he or she has received. Through this activity, students learn to distinguish the best or most likely explanations from all the logically possible ones.

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Visualizing Humanitarian Crises and Interventions

Student groups are each assigned a region experiencing a humanitarian crisis for research. They produce a visual timeline representing the processes precipitating and leading up to the crisis and the relief efforts undertaken in response. As a final project, each group produces an infographic representing a theme or a typology it observes across the different crises explored throughout the timeline exercise.

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