Exploration through Dialogue & Questions

Exploration through Dialogue & Questions
Shevell Thibou
Assistant Director of Teaching & Learning

How does resistance to change and fear of the unknown influence academia and impact your own life? What takes priority, a learner’s creativity or the institution’s expectations?  These are just a couple of the questions the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) will explore this quarter, and you are invited to join us! TLA participants include students, faculty, staff, and community members, and everyone is welcome. You do not need to sign up in advance or commit to every session--just come when you can.

The on-campus TLA dialogue groups meet every other Wednesday and Thursday from 12-12:50 p.m. in Haggard Hall 222. The next TLA session is scheduled for February 13 & 14, and will focus on the question: “Is obtaining an education a political act?” Two questions this quarter are are also affiliated with the 2019 Western Reads (WR) text, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. On Feb 27 & 28, the question is: ”In what ways do we uphold & combat systems of racial inequality & “token”ization?,” which is connected to themes in WR book chapter, “Token Superhero.”

mage of carrots, tomatoes, and other vegetables with the text: "What is our role in creating just and equitable food systems" and the date Feb. 26th above in a red -colored question box. Originally launched in 2001 by Dr. Carmen Werder, the TLA was seen as one way of supporting teaching and learning at Western, and was particularly focused on listening to student voices. One of the unique characteristics of the TLA model includes a flattened hierarchy, where students serve as the facilitators and are also the main creators of the different dialogue questions.

The questions change each week in order to explore different perspectives related to current teaching and learning topics or dilemmas. The TLA promotes the use of listening to understand and appreciate difference, and encourages open-mindedness and mutual respect for diverse perspectives.

As a result of requests made by TLA community members, and in collaboration with the Center for Community Learning and the Opportunity Council, the TLA now also offers off-campus quarterly dialogues in fall, winter, and spring. These sessions will be held within the Bellingham community as another way we can engage with each other to find ways of working together to create a more just and equitable society.

Winter quarter’s off-campus dialogue is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26th from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Bellingham Food Bank (1824 Ellis St), and the question for that session is: “What is our role in creating just and equitable food systems?”

We hope you’ll consider attending one or more of the dialogue sessions this quarter. Students can participate in the TLA voluntarily or for credit (LIBR 340). For more information on the TLA program or LIBR 340, please contact Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.

Published on: 01/31/2019 - 8:34am

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