May 20, 2021 P3 Showcase Transcript
Perfect. So who are we and what do we do? So we're a team of students and professors who are passionate about teaching learning, and we want to create positive and impactful change. We know that as students, we often remember the teachers who believed in us, who included us and who cared about our wellbeing. While engaging and his work, we focused on those same types of concepts and creating those same types of bonds with the goal of strengthening student teacher relationships. So, we each teamed up with a professor this semester and worked as partners to tackle different issues and topics to enhance the students’ experience in the classroom. So, this can range from dealing with the workload or how to encourage students during tough times and in doing so, we built strong relationships with each other as we push towards the goal of equity and inclusion.
So, when exactly do we do this? In the fall, my P3 cohort and I underwent training where we learned about a range of pedagogical approaches and concepts ranging from creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom, to how to deal with students that have a lot going on outside of the classroom. And then in the spring, we were equipped and ready to engage in our partnership work with our faculty team members. And looking back, I'm happy to say that we did it, and we did it big, we assess and address, and it was a success. So now pass it on to my amazing P3 fellow Esi to give us a little bit more insight.
Okay. Hi everyone. I'm Esi. And I'm going to talk a little more about the logistics of our program. So let's start with where our work happens. Each week, P3 student partners sit in on classes where we observe classroom instruction. Later, we engage with our faculty partners through one-on-one conversations. We check in with each other, discuss any challenges that arise and set goals for future classes. Additionally, P3, students convene weekly as a cohort to reflect, process and support each other as we share those challenges that we may be facing.
So, how does our work happen? When we attend classes, we each take comprehensive notes that focus on general observations as well as individual goals that we've set for our personal partnerships. These notes can take the form of descriptive bullet points or visual representations like classroom maps. Collaborative problem-solving is critical to our work. We work through the difficulties that arise throughout the semester, by engaging with the materials we read during training and reflecting on our own experiences.
Lastly, the P3 Program would not be successful at all without the support that we give one another. We remind each other to give each ourselves grades when things don't go as planned and celebrate when they do.
Finally, why do we do this work? So I'm sure that the answer to this question varies for each student partner, but in the end we’re dedicated to creating equitable classrooms in which all can succeed. We're here because we really love Amherst and we want be a part of the positive steps the college is taking to improve teaching and learning in our classrooms. With that, I'll pass it along to Riley who will speak about the program from the CTL’s perspective.
Thanks, Joy and Esi for kicking us off. I am Riley Caldwell-O’Keefe. I’m the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Amherst College. The way we're going to do this today is first have a panel. The students are going to answer some questions and then the faculty are going to answer some questions. Ahead of time, they've sort of organized how they're going to approach this. And then we'll have breakout rooms where everyone who is participating will go into a room with some faculty and student partners. So you can ask some questions in a closer environment. And then we'll wrap up at the end. We'll have 30 minutes at the end. If you want to stick around, if you have more questions that came out of your breakout room discussions, or you just want to chat with these amazing students and faculty, then you can stick around for another 30 minutes for kind of a casual conversation.
So, a really high-level overview. I have wanted to start a student partnership program here since we founded the CTL four years ago. I've done student partner work myself in my own teaching. We believe that students' perspectives are necessary to create the best learning environment possible. Working towards centering student voice helps our institutions do a better job of providing inclusive, equitable opportunities for learning. The research about this indicates that these partnerships improve the learning experience for all students, improve faculty understanding of and empathy for the student experience, and improve student understanding of an investment in their own and their peers’ learning as well as empathy for faculty. We have certainly seen that amongst our own P3 cohort. So, in Spring 2020 with the help of many people, including my CTL partner in crime, Sarah Bunnell, who you'll hear from later, student partner expert, Alison Cook-Sather, and the writing and thinking of many folks, including several who are in this meeting with us today, we launched our P3 Program.
So, we're here today to talk a little bit about how this has gone for us during this really kind of crazy year. And I'm going to drop in the chat, a handout that provides an overview of our P3 Program. It also has links to resources and documents. It might be helpful to you developing your own program or engaging in another kind of student partnership. If this is something you just want to try to do in your class, you could do this. If you want to integrate it into the curriculum. Now, I'm going to turn it over to Lucas.
Hi everyone. So I'm Lucas. I am one of the P3 student partners. And now that we've heard a bit about the P3 Program from Esi, Joy and Riley, I wanted to give you all a chance to hear from the faculty members and student partners who took part in this program. So to kick us off, I thought we might hear some reflections and voices from the student partners. And one way to think about this program is how it has affected the partners’ own perspectives on teaching and learning. So to kick us off, Héloïse, could you talk a bit about how this experience impacted your view of yourself as a student, your relationships with your professors, or your perspective on teaching and learning?
So, hi everybody. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. My name is Héloïse Schep, and I was one of the student partners for the P3 cohort this year, working with professor Courtright. And I think that our work here really demonstrates how deeply the Amherst faculty values students and how strong and transformative learning can become when the faculty, student relationship is equitable. As student partners, a lot of our work is about increasing the flow of communication between students and faculty. So, observing and communicating our areas of growth to the faculty, and also the students in the classes themselves think on how the class can best serve their learning goals. We collect students' thoughts and what works well for them, through surveys or in class discussions. And as a student, that opened my eyes to how professors are not only very genuinely interested in the perspectives of their students, but also open to adapting their course based on student feedback and a student's needs can and will shape the approach that a professor takes.
And I think that even though the process of adapting student needs still involves us, the students are kind of raising us to the level of collaborators, discussing how we can improve certain assignments or like exams or discussions. So, I personally see learning more as a collaborative and equitable process in which both students and faculty meet their areas of growth. And I think we've seen from communication with students and faculty involved in the program that that really does work and that it does better students’ experience and in turn inspire them to do the most in their classes and to really feel enthusiastic and valued as learners.
Great. Thanks so much, Héloïse. So, now that we've kind of gotten to this idea of how this has changed your idea of learning. Grace, do you have something to add on this?
Yes, absolutely. My name is Grace. I was also P3 partner and I had the pleasure of working with Professor Totton in Social Psychology and something that I think I learned the most from this partnership is it changed my perspective on teaching itself in that before I'd seen teaching as a one-sided thing. It's always felt like I'm the student and everything is kind of thrown at me, but I think this experience kind of changed my view on how learning can be done, on how collaborative learning and teaching can be. And I think from the perspective of a student, it made me understand how much deliberate work goes into preparing a classroom, how much every assignment is very purposeful, and it is all supposed to build into learning about the class as a whole. So seeing that from a teacher's perspective, I think it made me appreciate my teachers a lot more because I realized that there truly is a lot that goes into making sure your students feel understood, and they are able to understand the learning in general. And as a student trying to learn or trying to observe the pedagogy, I think I was able to learn a lot about what it means to run a classroom, what it means to be deliberate in your choices. And just in general, it was an experience that I feel was very enlightening in terms of like, you know, a day in the life of a professor. So it's something that I appreciated in general.
Thanks so much, Grace. So, we've now heard a little bit about how this has changed the P3 partner's own perspectives on the purpose of teaching and the intent behind different pedagogical methods that brings us nicely to our next question, which is about what surprised the P3 partners about this work. And so to speak on that a little bit we have Esi.
Hi again. So I have two answers to this question. The first is how well this worked over Zoom. When I first started this, I was really unsure about how classroom observations would work, because a lot of what we observe in a classroom has to do with just body language and just social cues that we have. And we're in person, but on Zoom, you're able to turn off your camera and mute yourself and completely just shut the world out. And so, I was really concerned about how I was going to be able to see how students are experiencing the class as well as how my P3 partner was experiencing it as well. But, it actually turned out to be really great.
I think something Dr. Bunnell said during one of our cohort meetings is that we've really become more nuanced in the way that we're able to pick up on things through Zoom, where whether it's looking and seeing if a student is leaning in during a conversation, or if someone just seems like they're kind of out of it and like checking their email, something like that. Those things have become a lot easier. And so that's one thing that's surprised me.
The second is how much we were able to contribute to just the classes as a whole. I had the pleasure of working with Professor Boucher and her course called Race and Empire, and she's taught the class for many years and has a lot of experience. So I was very concerned about my ability to contribute. But I think we, through conversations and little fixes, things like that, we really were able to see improvement within the students and within the class as a whole. And so, yeah, those are two things that surprised me.
Thanks so much. Esi, I think you brought up a really great point about Zoom, which brings us nicely to our next question, which is: Going into next year and beyond, what are some skills that you think you can transfer to other places? What kinds of things will you be taking forward from this experience? So, to speak about this a little bit, we have Kriti.
Hi. I'm Kriti. I'm a P3 fellow mentor and I worked with Professors Jaswal and Loinaz. As for some things or skills that I'll take into the future with me, I think the two main ones are communication and observation. I got the chance to practice communicating my thoughts in a clear and concise way, whether it was with Professors Jaswal and Loinaz, or Riley and Sarah, or my fellow P3 members. And I know communication is a skill that's felt valued pretty much, no matter where you are. And so I'm looking forward to using what I've learned to go forward. In terms of observation, I think not being enrolled in a class really allowed me to take both a big picture view of the classroom and see how the different pieces of the class fit together, all the puzzle pieces, but also get a more granular view and see smaller, more detailed things like problem set questions and how each student approached those and what might be some things to think about there. And also lastly, generally I just feel more comfortable approaching my professors in my classes for help, if I'm struggling or even just to get to know them outside of class. I think seeing how dedicated Professor Loinaz and Professor Jaswal are to their students made me really excited about talking to my professors in my classes. And I think this program pushed me to have a lot of conversations with professors. And I don't know if I would have pushed myself to do this before. So I'm really grateful for that.
Thanks, Kriti. So, to add onto that, Joy, do you have any other thoughts on this issue?
I had the pleasure working with Professor Shu-Min this semester. We were both so passionate and I think the idea that I'll take forth from this is that small steps are also progress. Because at one point, we said, we can do this and we can do this and that, you know, we had such big dreams and that's beautiful, but sometimes if we change too much, it might be hard to assess what's the real aspect that's leading to this change. So, we took it step by step. So, one week we were working on discussions. The next week we were working on group work and looking back on how that all played out. We did what we wanted to do. And we took it step by step. And I think that helped us a lot. And I think that can be transferred and other places as well, whether it's with your job, goals that you may have. You'll get there, but it's okay to go a little bit at a time.
Great. Thank you so much, Joy and Kriti, for those responses. And having talked a little bit about how you're going to take these skills forward. And I want to ask about whether or not you would recommend being involved in this work to your peers and why and what you think really influenced that? So to talk about that, we have Eugene.
Hi everyone. I'm Eugene and I had the pleasure of working with Professor Culiuc in Math 2 72 this semester. And I mean, short answer, I would definitely recommend it to students and professors just because it gave me voice in a space where I didn't consider that I really had a voice before. Because with regards to teaching, there's a misconception of a power dynamic that happens. Whereas this collaboration really took down that wall. And I would say it's important for students to contribute and collaborate with the professors in the learning, just because they're the ones who are learning. They are the ones who will take the subjects and the curriculums and learn from the professors. So in that sense, it was really eye opening. I was really thrilled to be able to communicate so the concerns, or suggestions that I had that was set in place in the class. And it was awesome to see just to see how students were taking on all those different aspects which I thought was awesome. And yeah, that's it. I would definitely recommend it.
Great. Thank you so much, Eugene. So having heard a little bit from each of our student partners, now I want to turn it over to Mariama-Alexis who's going to introduce our faculty members to share about their experiences.
Thank you. I'm Mariama-Alexis. And I was fortunate enough to be a P3 student partner this semester with Professor Jagannathan. So, it is now the point in our showcase where we want to go over our faculty’s reflections. One of the major things we learned through our training in this partnership is that it's a reciprocal relationship. So we both learn from each other and we both taught and shared each other through our experiences. So, a full picture of what we've done this semester wouldn't be complete without hearing from our faculty members. We're first going to start with Professor Boucher, and we're going to ask you to share why you entered the partnership and what your goals were. And then we're going to ask Professor Loinaz to also share on this question and see how your experience has complete.
Sure. Well, thank you. So I entered the partnership because as someone who is new to remote teaching, I found it really difficult to understand how my curriculum was landing with my students. It's harder when you don't have the same kind of interpersonal relationships and sort of exchanges that you can have when you're teaching in person. And so, my goals when I started the program were, first, I was really interested in the asynchronous components of my course and the parts of it online that I couldn't see for instance, breakout rooms. And so having Esi sort of be a fly on the wall in those breakout rooms, I didn't go into the breakout rooms. And so having the pedagogical partner in those sessions was so helpful and then meeting with her weekly to sort of digest what was happening in those parts of the class and how they were connecting up to the other parts of my content was just really, really insightful and illuminating.
And then the second goal that I had, as Esi mentioned, I was teaching a course on race in the British Empire, and I wanted to make sure that it was an inclusive space. And so I went in with the goal of thinking about how students were bringing their identities into the classroom and whether they felt comfortable, sort of thinking critically about their own identities in relationship to the history that we were studying that turned out to be, I think, an overly ambitious goal. I think that's something that's really hard for a pedagogical partner to observe without asking a lot of personal questions of students. And so, I think early on Esi and I realized that that was just going to be too difficult, especially in the remote environment to really make a central part of our partnerships. So it still was helpful to have that going in as a goal because I think it informed a lot of our discussions. But, the first about the asynchronous components of the course was I think a much more doable and attainable goal and was really, really helpful.
Shall I go, Mariama-Alexis?
Oh, so thank you. So, I co-taught biochemistry biophysics capstone course BCBP 400. It's Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, with Sheila Jaswal, and we had Kriti as our pedagogic partner. It’s sort of a complicated course. We're trying to get students in the course to the point of reading and engaging and discussing and dissecting and critiquing the research literature ultimately to read and review this literature and engage in a discussion with faculty in the BCBP Program and sort of a combination. The students come in with a lot of background in science. But also, they come in often with an orientation toward - you teach me the science and I'll learn the science. We really want to break them out of that in this course. We want them to transition to being scientists who are budding researchers who are getting themselves dirty with the messiness of science and being comfortable with being skeptical of scientific research papers.
But, it's often seemed a tough transition for us. And so the course is scaffolded and it's highly structured because we're getting to, we want them to think critically, but it's also technical material that many of them are not familiar with. So, we have three-week modules where we build them up in the technical material and then try to get them to talk about the stuff in critical ways. But we often have trouble explaining to the class how the pieces are supposed to interlock and build them up towards something, getting them away from anxiety about the grades, even though a lot of the class, most of the class is pass-fail and getting them away from the idea that we should be making things more precise for them rather than they should be sharpening things themselves.
So, we had hoped that in getting a pedagogical partner involved in the course, the partner could help us figure out how students used the course to figure out how to better message what we wanted to do, where we were falling short and perhaps feed back to the class some of these things, some of the ways that we wanted the students to think about the course. Now as it happened oddly enough, the problem never really appeared this semester. So we never really had to solve that. Instead, we went in an entirely different direction. Kriti came in and she observed the courses. She joined with Professor Jaswal and I in our free-wheeling discussions about the course and how to, how to experiment with it and tweak it. It was fantastic cause the kind of deep observation that you can't really get from faculty or students focusing on a subject material and it really shaped our view of how we ran the course. And it brought a student voice in, in a place that we really weren't able to get one in before.
Thank you so much, professors. I think it's so important to be able to remember why you entered into this partnership as it ended. And it's also a great segue into our next question, which is directed towards Professor Liao. And then we will go to Professor Grobe to talk a little bit about how this experience has changed your perspective on teaching and if it has, in what ways has that affected how you see yourself in the classroom and has it affected how you see your students? I know that's a bit of a loaded question, but Professor Liao, would you be able to comment on this for us?
Sure, of course. I would say how I view myself and my students honestly evolves all the times. In my earlier career, I viewed myself as a lecture, knowledge you deliver. And I felt my most important job was to find the best way, most efficient, most effective way to pass those pieces of knowledge to my students, and then viewed my students simply like a knowledge recipient.
But as time goes on, I began realizing that as being a good deliverer, that deliverer of knowledge is not good enough. And more specifically, it's not what my students would benefit the most from. So because I really feel that our students really need to learn more than just knowledge in college. And I'm also a strong believer about [Chinese language], which is a Chinese proverb, basically saying that to teach is to learn or someone might translate it as “teaching others, teaches yourself”. And I feel that I've been learning a lot from my students over the years and I have been thinking of, and they're looking for ways to make my course dynamics the less hierarchy and the more inclusive, but honestly, I don't know how to do that. And then, oh, where to begin or, or I was even wondering if it was allowed at Amherst. And I had a lot of reservations in the hesitations about the faculty-student partnership prior to this year. But this P3 Program really helped me practice and envision, to enivision my students as the co-creator and the collaborators of the course. I wouldn't say it’s easy to myself, to my peace partner, and to my students, but it definitely worth trying. It's would take some practice though. And then I honestly feel there are still a lot for me to learn how to be a good faculty partner, but I cannot wait to try some new ideas. I brainstormed with my P3 partner, my wonderful one, a wonderful P3 Joy this semester. And then I would say that this experience definitely changed my perspective on teaching and learning.
Honestly, there are really two sides of the same coin and our students can really teach us many things if we allow them. They can really play more active roles in class. It will make a space when to share their creativity and their perspective, and if we trust them. And so, I definitely feel really grateful about all the wonderful ideas that Joy shared with me based on [unclear]. And I also appreciated the opportunity that I would be able to meet with her on a weekly basis. And we discussed all those mystery pieces I have had about teaching over the years. And she definitely, definitely has given me a lot of different perspectives, which I didn't expect. So I couldn't recommend this program more highly.
All right. Hi. My name is Chris Grove. I was working with Lucas in a 400-level drama course called the Play of Ideas. And I should say quickly that I entered the partnership mostly out of a feeling of concern for doing, on Zoom, something that already made me nervous which was ending this class with a series of plays, contemporary plays, mostly by playwrights of color on whiteness and trying to build up to a kind of productive and difficult and trusting conversation about that in the classroom. So I knew that community building was going to be a key aspect of what it meant to teach this course well. And, I had no idea how to measure and assess that as the course in progress. What I found, and this is to answer the question of how my view of my students has changed, a real kind of like deeply ethical investment in figuring out how to structure a classroom community, a real willingness to treat the classroom as a kind of a place of experimentation with different social relations, different modes of discussion. And ultimately, I think, in the end, a real willingness to integrate very personal experience with aesthetic interpretation and discussions of urgent political and social concern. And, as for how this changed my own perception of myself as a teacher, I'm always worried about content and skills when I teach upper level drama courses, because, as the department's one man curriculum in drama, the English department’s one man curriculum in drama, I often find that students come in not having read many plays, not knowing much about how drama works. And so I feel like every course has to become a kind of crash course in skills and a sort of bootcamp of play reading. And I just had to let a lot of that go to make space for the kind of community work.
And I think it was really, it was really valuable. It was valuable because an aspect of theater that I've always found very difficult to teach suddenly became very easy, which is the sense in which a performance is always a live intervention in a particular community at a particular time in a particular place and meets people where they are. And I think, in ways that are hard to plan on teaching. I think we really sort of got it that very important point about the theater and its social function this semester. And I wouldn't have been able to do that without a very creative partner in Lucas who is always helping me look for ways look for objective correlatives that we could study as proof of how the class was working out its sense of common cause and community.
So, I'll just give one example like the use of Zoom chat, as a side conversation, during main discussions and some negotiations around how people were going to use, whether people were going to use it, how they were going to use it and how they were going to draw that up into the conversation and not overwhelm everybody with parallel conversations. And that became, I think, an early objective corelative, just one example of how students were sensitive to and responsive to each other's learning needs, but also like able to have both more formal and more casual modes of interactions sitting side by side. It was a great experience.
Thank you both for those very thoughtful answers and this next question, which will be directed first at Professor Totton and then Professor Culiuc. It is about transformative experiences such as how the P3 partnership for both the student and faculty partners can have amazing moments and can also have some more thought provoking the moments that make you look at yourself in your classroom environment a little differently. So how did you feel about this experience and if you could specifically touch on what was effectively challenging, but also what was rewarding about this experience? So again, first we will direct a question that Professor Totton and then we'll move on to Professor Culiuc.
Thank you. My name is Rebecca Totton. I am a first year visiting assistant professor. And the course that I was working on with Grace was Social Psychology. This is the first time that I've taught social psych at Amherst. And so, entering into this, honestly, I had a lot of anxiety about the potential of how this partnership may impact me, of expectations that I might change things that I really didn't have set in stone yet, to be honest. And so, it was anxiety provoking to enter the partnership, but I think Mariama-Alexis used the word transformative and that is truly the word that I would use to describe this partnership. It was truly a transformative experience for me. I cannot recommend this more to someone in their first year. This is truly, if you ever have the opportunity to do this, I think the best possible time to do it is your first year. I really have no basis of comparison there, but I'm going to say the best time to do it first year.
But I'm saying that because Grace and I really had the opportunity to look at this as a bottom up process. We looked at every aspect of the course. We looked at the way that I presented lecture, the way that I presented discussion. We looked at the breakout rooms that were happening. I was teaching the class once a week in person and once a week online. And so there were a lot of moving parts and pieces to the course. And so we looked at how breakout groups were happening. We looked at all of the different assignments and we looked at whether or not each of those was reaching my pedagogical goals. And so, we really had the opportunity to kind of work through each aspect of the course together. And again, I'm going to go back to that word transformative. It truly was transformative to have the opportunity to view each of those aspects of the course through the collaborative lens of a student partnership that was truly not evaluative for either of us. Which as a professor, you can ask for feedback from students all semester, but so long as that power dynamic in their mind continues to exist on some level, you're not getting that same raw type of feedback that you can from the partnership that we were in this semester. So absolutely again, a little bit nerve wracking in the beginning, but something I couldn't possibly recommend more.
Yeah, absolutely. I had this feeling and starting the partnership I experienced the same. I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences imposter syndrome in front of a classroom. And I feel like I'm making it up as I go. So the thought of inviting a student to actually see that process was very daunting. I felt very vulnerable and exposed bringing Eugene in and having him chat with me and giving me feedback. So in some sense, even that alone was very useful for me because I don't think I've ever felt as much empathy for my students for how they may feel going into safe office hours or, you know, it's right to tell our students that the whole learning experience is a collaboration. And now I got to be in some sense in my mind, at least on the other side now, as Eugene and I continue to grow and grow together and get to know each other and share experiences, it was really, really an asset for someone in mathematics to collaborate with a student who's majoring in English and sociology.
It was very exciting for me to hear a perspective that I would have probably not gotten from my colleagues in STEM. It was nice to have a lot of my assumptions challenged. I would say things like, oh, well, I can't assign anything other than a problem set, or the exam cannot be anything other than the list of problems in a given timeframe. And having someone say, well, why is that? That was extremely useful and helpful. And also just having the voice of the student to reassure me. It was a challenging semester, not just because of Zoom. There was a lot going on on campus and then the world and our students were experiencing a lot of trauma that I myself did not know how to address. And I was often so scared of saying the wrong thing that oftentimes I was considering saying nothing. And then having my pedagogical partner there, saying, well, it's important to show them you care. As a student, that's all we really want from our professors - to show us that they care. And it helped me do that. So yes, transformative is the right word. I feel so much closer to my students now and I feel slightly less scared of getting feedback. I think that's a big plus.
Thank you both for those responses. These are really large questions with really complex answers and different answers depending on who you ask. So I just want to remind you all that there will be breakout sessions to discuss these questions a little bit more and an informal Q&A at the end, if you are able to stay after the showcase is over and you want to hear any more about some of these topics. But, now we will move on to Professor Jagannathan and Professor Moss. And we're just going to ask the two of you to talk about how you will bring what you've learned from your partnerships into future courses. If you thought about that, what are things that initially stand out to you that same essential and how you continue on your pedagogical journey? So again, first Professor Jagannathan and then Professor Moss.
Thank you, Mariama-Alexis. I was lucky to be partnered with Mariama-Alexis for my introductory physics class second semester, this spring. And I want to say I was doubly lucky because Mariama-Alexis was not only a pedagogical partner meant to focus on the pedagogy in the classroom and put us to partner on that. But she had also taken our, suffered through two semesters of introductory physics with me just shortly earlier, and therefore she had an additional perspective and depth to bring to our partnership. So, that was really great.
And I know we're supposed to talk about the future, but the College is celebrating its 200th anniversary and I’ve been here for a good part of it. And so, I do want to start from the past and go forward from there a little bit. I think I wanted to quote Shu-Min’s remarks about teaching, especially teaching in STEM. It is true that there is some factual knowledge that needs to be transmitted and so on. It's not unimportant, but it's often overemphasized and it is the communicating the facts is only a part perhaps an important part, but only is part of what it is that makes teaching possible. That's what I've learned over the years. It's not something I knew all along, but it's something that I'm constantly learning too. And so, how does that work in the past and why did I join the program and therefore, what do I want to do going forward? That's the way I want to just run through this question.
The students before me, over the decades, they are different. I mean, generational changes, demographic, all these different types of learners, the kinds of things we might have taken for granted and there's intuitive teachers, or even with some pedagogical research behind it, say 20 years ago 25 years ago, may be completely obsolete by now. And one of the motivations for me to be alert to newer pedagogical expertise and knowledge is to keep up a little bit so that have at least in some approximate way, a sense of what the current thinking is. And more particularly what current student body is like at Amherst College. And our weekly conversations with Mariama-Alexis and me really were helpful in that she was focusing on the pedagogy and she also was able to address my anxieties and questions about where students are coming from. Are they engaged? How do I engage them better? And things like that. These were extremely useful to me. And what I would say is that going forward, that's the kind of thing I would look for, if not through the P3 Program because you have a limited resource. I hope many, many more colleagues and students will participate in it, and so, but some, some kind of substitute for it. I will still keep in mind the weekly feedback on many issues that Mariama-Alexis gave me during this partnership that continue to be useful, but I will try to get some kind of some person to play a similar role, maybe a TA, maybe a concern with the content of the course too, which is different from this partnership program, but something along those lines that will at least sort of some of the functions that the Pedagogical Partner Program has served me.
I guess with that space I'm supposed to go next. Is that right? I was fortunate enough to be paired with Steph. I'm Hilary Moss. I teach in History and Black Studies and soon to be Education Studies. And when I signed up for this, I actually had no idea what it was. And I think that probably was good. I had been very spoiled. I've co-taught very often, and I was coming off of a really hard break with my favorite co-teacher in the world, Kristen Luschen, who I think is here, and I could not envision how I was going to do pandemic teaching without Kristen. And so I thought, okay, I'm lost in the world. I no longer have my pedagogical partner. And the opportunity to have somebody else, I thought, I'll take it. This is great. But I didn't know really what it was. And I think that that is okay.
I learned a tremendous amount from Steph and some of the things I learned are replicable, some of them may not be. So, the first thing I'll say is I was teaching from a different time zone. I'm actually in New Zealand, I'm really far from my students. And one of the worries that I had is that in contrast to Amalia [Culiuc] who I think talked about being able to observe everything that was going on campus, that I'm really far away. And so I could hear about events that were taking place, you know, 18 hours ago, but I didn't really have a sense of how students were perceiving things. Even something as small as when students were getting their second vaccine shot and had to plan around what were the realities of their lives. And so, Steph was really incredible at helping me be really thoughtful about what were the events that were going to be informing students when they were coming to class that day. And I don't know how I necessarily carry that forward, except this idea of really active listening.
A couple other things I learned from Steph that I will absolutely carry forward. The first is that Steph had a tremendous amount of compassion and she had compassion for herself and she had compassion for me. And I tend to go from an idea that if something's not working in class, it has to be my fault, right. And if something's going great, it has to be because of the student. It can't be because of something that I've been doing. And Steph was really incredible about approaching teaching with a sense of compassion. And so, there were times when I would walk out of class and I'd be like, I don't understand half the students had their cameras off, it's getting worse. And she would say to me, it's getting worse. But helped me understand that the reasons for that were not necessarily all just a reflection of things that I was failing to do. And I think that that was a really powerful lesson.
The other thing that I think Steph was really great about reinforcing is that one of the challenges with the shift to remote learning… I found the ACUE experience very jarring for a lot of reasons. And I think it was asking us in really powerful ways to question a lot of our assumptions about how we teach. I know as a historian of education, there's this idea that people will talk about called tinkering towards utopia, which basically says that there really aren't new models of education reform that all ideas have been tried and tried again. And we sort of circle back and forth from one to another. And I wish I had kept that in mind because when I had the ACUE experience, I felt like I had to change everything. I changed my assignments. I changed my books. I changed how I was structuring a class from start to finish. And I think what Steph taught me is that a lot of the best interventions are not radical ones. They're actually small ones. And so, she would come with suggestions about if a student might need to have close captioning in a course so they would be able to hear. Or maybe this is the time to do something that's more interactive and maybe a little less sort of speaking directly at the students. But she never came in and said, okay, you have to radically change who you are and what you're doing. And I think the biggest lesson that I've learned was that reform can be small and those small things can be meaningful. And I wish I had known that sort of over this summer when I was getting a lot thrown at me all at once. And so, I think it was really helpful to have somebody value that change can be small and it can be thoughtful, but it doesn't have to be radically throwing out everything that you do every time around.
So, I don't know if the experience would be replicable because I won the lottery with the person I got who was thoughtful and compassionate, practical, and helpful and kind. And so I think all of those things, if I could just carry this spirit of that with me into future teaching, I would be really lucky. So that's sort of my reflection on working with Steph.
Yeah. I think a number of our partners feel the same which is fantastic. So, hi, everyone. I'm Sarah Bunnell. I'm the Associate Director at our Center. Listening to you all process and process in real time and just affirm and celebrate each other reminds me again of why this work was just so important and so life-giving. For all of us who did it this year, it felt like exactly what we needed, even though we didn't quite know, it was exactly what we needed. It came to us. And we, Riley and I, had the deep privilege of being in conversation with these cohorts across the entire process. And so meeting with the students, meeting with our student mentors, meeting with the faculty cohorts, we got the real privilege to see how these transformations were happening and this processing was happening.
And now you all are going to have the opportunity and privilege to be in conversation with each other about what resonates with you, what ideas do you have, what is inspiring, what's confusing. What do you want to know more about? We have a deep knowledge base of student partnership and faculty-student partnership on the call, a lot of people who are leading this work and other people who are partnership curious. And so we would like to invite you to stay for the next 20 minutes or so in breakout to talk with each other in small groups again, about what do you want to know more about what connects with you? Where are the links that you see between the work that you're doing and the work that you hope to do? And Riley is going to be driving our breakout ship. It is one of her many, many talents, breakout rooms.
Welcome back, everybody. I hope you had engaging and productive conversations, things that helped you stretch and clarify, connect. We wanted to just take a couple of minutes to close this conversation. And then as Mariama-Alexis said, we will have informal conversation for people who can stay. But also recognize that this is a time where folks are juggling a lot and understand that you may not have additional time. But there was something that in our processing and preparation for this was a particular question that we wanted to just reflect on. And Steph had some thoughts that she'd like to share in terms of thinking about why this kind of work feels urgent and important now, here at the College, and in higher education, more broadly. Steph, what do you think about that?
I think that this work can always be considered urgent, but I think that right now it's apparent to everyone. And I think that whenever I think about this kind of question, I think back to when I was a pedagogical partner in the pilot program in the infamous semester of Spring 2020 and we were all just sent home and went remote and we had started the program by that point. And I remember Dr. Caldwell-O’Keefe and Dr. Bunnell emailing all of the student partners. Are you still willing to do this work? How should we move forward? And I remember thinking that we need it now more than ever. Basically, the whole world of teaching and learning just got turned upside down and we all had to be there to figure it out together. And so I was nervous, but also really grateful to be kind of at the forefront of this educational change.
And I think that this is kind of classic. We talk about how the pandemic is affecting everything, but it really is. It has an incredible impact on teaching and learning. Just the fact that we were all on a computer screen right now shows that, and I think that the pandemic highlighted a lot of inequities that were underlying in teaching and learning and higher education. And so it brought those to everyone's eyes. It kind of brought them out in the open and it also heightened some of them. And so I think in addressing how we can make teaching and learning more equitable, more accessible for everyone, we're developing strategies that will help all students in the long run, not just right now. And I think that it's important to get as many perspectives as we can.
So, I think I will leave it there. As just a really critical reminder of teaching, being about relationships, being about community, being about shared investment and respect and reciprocity and thinking about how do we build that into the work that we are doing, the way that we are learning with and from each other. Thank you all so much for being here to reflect, to engage, to think and hopefully for us to continue to partner. So we will stay here for folks who have additional conversation, but I just want to thank you all for being here and to thank our amazing cohort of student and faculty partners. Thank you all so much.
So now begins the informal Q&A portion of our showcase. So if you're able to stay fantastic, but as Dr. Brunelle said, if you have to leave, we appreciate you coming. And now we invite you all to either unmute yourself, raise your hand, or ask any questions in the chat for further conversation.
I actually have a question for you, Alison. You messaged me about the winning of the lottery, and so, which several of our faculty have said, not just today, but in multiple iterations. And I guess I wonder what strikes you about that?
Yeah, I was messaging Riley saying, I hear this everywhere, right. There are faculty that say, oh my gosh. I mean, I got, I so lucked out. I got this particular student. And I always listened to it and say, huh, I mean, it's so interesting that we go straight to that idea that it's the individual who is affecting this rather than…, and of course the individuals matter. I mean, that is not to say that the individuals don't. But I think we should pay attention to that reaction and think about, is it the individual or is it in fact the structure and the relationship that everybody is building that really could work with almost anybody. If you are thoughtful and careful and, and structure and support. And I think it's important because we have a tendency to individualize and responsibilize individuals, rather than in very bad ways, sometimes as well as in good ways. And so I think it's super important to think about what is it about this structure and practice that is actually what we should foreground and it could therefore be more inclusive and also take that what seems like a positive gloss away and think more about the dynamic. That's what I was thinking about Riley, when I was texting you, just because I was so struck. Sophia, you're nodding vigorously. You agree?
I agree so much. And it's something I encountered also as a student partner at Bryn Mawr when I was in the program with you, Alison. And then when I was running the program at Trinity University in San Antonio, that when my partner would say, well, I got so lucky that I'm working with Sophia. I thought I'm not special. Like, I mean, you know, I feel great that you appreciate me and that's wonderful, but also I see so many of my peers and classmates who are not in this program, who would do an equally amazing job and are justice thoughtful and would engage in these deep ways had they had the opportunity to. And again, I saw that at Trinity, as well, of instructor saying I got so lucky, my partner was phenomenal. And I want people to think, no, no, no, I just had the opportunity to ask the right questions of my students and I should be taking those questions to the students in my class as well and to be thinking about how I can break down some of the hierarchies that have stopped me from interacting in these ways previously with the students in my class.
Yeah. That's exactly it. It's that otherwise we keep reinforcing the structures that we have and accepting them, right? And continuing to work with them rather than saying, actually we can change those and the assumptions that underlie them and the relationships that we have. Shu-Min, you were talking about this, it felt like to me when you were talking as well.
I probably want to ask you Alison for some guidance or wisdom. So, I really enjoyed this experience a lot, and I really want to bring those kinds of [unclear] in my class. And I have been trying to do something in my class. And Joy also helped me to think about some new strategies. I want to hear from you. What kind of advice you might have? What kind of strategy or what kinds of things you have redone in your class to share the partnership with your students?
We should talk about that offline because that's a very long conversation. And I'm very radical. I go very, very far. All of my courses are co-created; assessment is co-created. Everything. So we could talk about that off. But I think, for everybody, what Sophia just said is really the answer. Ask yourself this question of how can I be having the same kind of partnership dynamic in my course. Just ask yourself that question regularly. And there are going to be limits. It's not going to be exactly the same as this kind of extra classroom partnership. But if you ask yourself that question and stay in dialogue with students who can help you say, I can't remember who said, oh, it doesn't have to be that way. Who said that? Are you still here? One of you, one of the faculty members said, oh, I assumed it had to be this way, but then you realize it doesn't have to be that way. And so there are all these assumptions. In terms of how things have to be, and if you keep asking yourself the question, how could this be more of a partnership approach? You can slowly, yourself, work through what you can change more toward partnership is the short answer, but I'm happy to have a longer conversation. Okay.
I think a really nice and very, very tiny example is an instructor, I knew who worked in partnership and then the following semester, her students did really poorly on their midterm exam. And she had this moment of crisis, like, oh my God, what went wrong? Like, how am I going to fix this? What did I do in my teaching that caused this to happen? And then thought, what would my partner do? And she's like, oh, my partner would say, ask the students what happened. So she did that. She went back to our class and just said, okay, like what happened here? What was confusing? How did my prior lessons? Where was the confusion happening? What led to this path on this midterm? And she, I think previously would not have even thought to ask her students that basic question. And it's very, very tiny thing, but I think it's an example of, oh, this can be a dialogue rather than a moment of saying I did something terrible, or my students are terrible. That, that, you know, rather than becoming defensive or becoming sort of aggressive about what's happening, it can be a space for openness and clarifying communication.
I think, I mean, thinking about the structures that enabled this work, I think one part of it that was so affirming were the cohorts and the fact that we were, you know, the faculty was meeting regularly and the students were meeting regularly and it was like a space where you could talk about how the partnership itself was going. I think that was really positive and something that would be difficult to replicate just in a classroom environment. And also, I talked about this a little bit in the breakout session, but I thought that the training that the partners were given and participated in was so helpful. I mean, just in terms of like the kind of feedback that the fellows were giving to the professors, how targeted it was the training and observation, the training and like affirming criticism. All of it, I mean, I just thought that from the very first meeting I had with Esi, I was like, wow, she like knows what she's doing. And like, and knows how to communicate that so well with me. And I think that that was really a function of the long training period that the student partners had before they actually engaged in the work with us.
Well, I'm still planning for, I have a plan for next year that hopefully, maybe some of you I can reach out to for some feedback, because I'm very determined to have an office hour set up for next semester where I'm the one asking the questions and the students are the ones answering them, and then trying to have like a theme or for instance, I'm hoping at some point to have a discussion about why do students cheat? What leads to academic dishonesty and how if I encounter, or I suspect academic dishonesty, what script might be good? Another thing I'd like to ask my students was there a point when they were struggling and the professor or mentor reached out, how did that person reach out? And I'm just hoping to have this, I call it for now flipped office hours. Cause we have flipped classrooms and I want some flipped office hours. And if anyone has good ideas of sort of discussion prompts, I'll have a million, I'll have a million conversations I want to have, but the more the merrier and I'm hoping other people will join in too.
It might be really interesting to ask students what they would like to be asked. Right? I mean, because even trying to sort of anticipate that, what did we know, right. I mean, it would be maybe the student partners, you know, that you have there, you could ask everybody like what would be the good questions to invite students to address in flipped office hours.
From a student perspective, it can always be kind of intimidating when a professor says like, I want to hear what you have to say, because sometimes we've learned the hard way that they don't really, or it can be hard to filter, which is why it's been great as a P3 student partner to be that go-between and to take students like raw unfiltered emotions and turn it into productive comments and feedback. But something that I think was really helpful was that on the first day I had a professor this semester say, I really want this to be a comfortable experience, went over class expectations, but talked about how they want to engage in dialogue with us about the material and about our lives.
And that, in addition to actually using Slack to have informal communication with the professor. All of these things put together, really broke down some of those walls and made it feel like they really did want to hear from us. And I'm not saying you have to download Slack which is an instant messaging platform for those of you who don't know, but just really repeating over and over, not just the first day and not just when you send out mid-semester feedback that you care about what students have to say, there's no punitive nature to it. It's really because you want it to be a positive experience for them. All of that really adds up and helps.
I think adding onto that from a student's perspective too. I think there's a misunderstanding that happens when students and professors sort of like talk with one another. And there's a misconception that professors might not understand why a student is asking for an extension or asking for this or that, why they might be seemingly disengaged from class. And it's unfortunate that that's the case, but working as a P3 student partner, I think it was very nice to see how that misconception could be dissipated and that students and professors are very understanding people. It's just that there's this framework of power dynamics that always occurs. And, it's there in place. But there should be sort of like, you know, with students just want their professors to understand and feel cared for. I would say that that makes a nice learning environment. Yeah.
I am wondering some of Amalia's comments about wanting to understand things like cheating and also like this idea of the power dynamic. I'm wondering if there's room to tap into our new Center for Restorative Practices, for some kind of co-facilitated things to kind of really take on these challenges. Because cheating is real and has happened and does happen and faculty have to go to extreme lengths to try to deal with it. And so that can lead to some kind of punitive reactions towards the professors. And so, how do we still recognize that as equal as this is, I guess maybe the argument would be, what would Alison say? If you ask the students, if you partner with the students and they've been in the partnership and you're co-creating, then they're invested. They're as invested as you.
But no, I mean, I think we need to have a broader discussion because this is definitely something that lands a lot on STEM professors. And, I think let's leverage this great partnership model and our new Restorative Practices Center, and let's try and get to the bottom of this and in a community way.
I’m already writing the script for a fake advice column called Dear Students, because I have specific examples, like Dear Students, I had someone in my office who was telling me they're trying their best, but still feel like they're not accomplishing what they were hoping and everyone's so much smarter than them. This is a very strong student. What should I do? Do you have any scripts, any words that I could tell the student to encourage them? So that's, you know, part of my advice column Dear Students. So I have very specific questions, not just hypotheticals where I need advice and then hoping my students will be able to help.
I have been struck in all of this work this year, that after every conversation, faculty-cohort conversation, or a student P3 conversation or a planning conversation with Kriti and Steph, our incredible mentors, that I just felt like the next relationship or conversation I went into I was a better version of myself because I had been primed in these kinds of skills - of slowing down, affirming, of coaching feedback in ways that will be heard and will feel valuable, that align with the goals that I hope the other person has. And if not, how do I know? And how do I modify it? And so I just wonder, as we're thinking about other areas of the College, other areas of our professional lives, of our student work, have you all experienced any shifts? Do you see transfer in terms of how you, how you think about feedback or how you think about relationships?
I think I talked a bit about this before, but I think just being in this partnership just made me realize that everybody's trying their best especially now. And so, it's just important to support each other. And then I think also being able to feeling more comfortable talking to my professors about things unrelated to class was really refreshing. Especially now when we don't like run into each other on campus or something. So sometimes I would go to office hours and a conversation about class turned into a conversation like just getting to know each other or for one of my philosophy classes, we have to write an essay. And I felt really comfortable talking to my professor about a topic that was really important and personal to me. And so I think just being involved in this work has helped me in that way and just opening up and recognizing everybody's trying their best and we all want to help each other. So that's been really nice.
I'm kind of interested in hearing from the students. So, students, especially in STEM, come in at different levels and we have this habit in STEM of saying, oh, this student has really strong preparation. So now, this student is a strong student. And then this student has weak preparation and this student. It seems like we kind of even put some limitation just from, and this language of, but we need language to say where students are along their development. And we do need some ability to say, beginning developing, expert or, the different levels, the rubrics that we’re good at. But I'm interested in your thoughts on how we can be transparent about the fact that some students do come in further progressed, better able to do certain things that we then end up having to integrate into the ways we grade, because we grade on things. It’s like a lot of students come in in French 3, but we're treating them like they're in French 1. And there are some students who've never spoken French before. So I'm just interested in your thoughts.
Thank you. Yeah. I've had a lot of my friends here at Amherst come in from very different levels of like the kinds of high schools they attended or the kinds of lives they had before high school. And I think that a connection with a professor can really help those students grow. But I feel like a lot of it is about preparing students for interacting with professors in a way, like for something like office hours, which is supposed to help students grow, or like those kinds of conversations where you can be honest about like, you know, maybe you don't have the kind of experience that other students might have with the physics classes they've taken or something else. I think that it's really important to kind of prepare students for just talking with faculty.
I was thinking earlier, I love the idea of student office hours for students get to ask questions, but I was thinking like, oh, what if students feel a little bit intimidated in some ways, like thinking about how different that relationship with a professor might be. It would be kind of requiring a kind of preparation. And also, to echo everybody's messages, I do need to head out, but thank you guys so much for all your time and all your reflection, and I hope you have a wonderful afternoon.
I was thinking of the same question because I've been in the same situation for one of my classes. It was truly introductory for me, but I have friends who had done it before. And I think the biggest aid for me in the classroom was truly trying to have a relationship with the professors in that I was sure that I could always be transparent with them about where I was in the classroom. And I saw somebody mentioned grades in the chat and I feel like they could discouraging, but I had to like really detach the idea of grades versus me actually learning something in the classroom. So overall, really getting assurance from the professor that I am in the right place in the classroom. Like I know as much as I should know at the time and I just truly need to be patient to learn gradually was very assuring.
But yes, I think in this point in this place, the relationship I either had to create, or I had ongoing with my professor was something that was truly supporting in the situation.
In a really interesting way, I think this is the same conversation as the individual student partner who is so fabulous. Right. And now we're also talking about students who aren't prepared. We individualize this, right? But it really is a larger system that we're working within. And so, I'm wondering, if we can, also building on what I've heard the students just say, help students understand it's not their individual fault or problem that they may not be prepared or they might feel like they don't know how to get to office hours. I mean, you know, those kinds of things are not, it's not common knowledge, right? It's knowledge, some people come with, but not everybody and sort of this idea of hidden curriculum and all of these things that remain unstated. I think if we stated them more often and normalized that everybody comes at them from a different angle, I think that would really help a lot. And, and not just to accept the systems that are, but then to say, how could we change these systems so that people don't have to be all prepared in the same way or at the same place at the same time or any of those other industrial revolution models that we have of education that don't really make sense. So, you can see how totally radical I am about this stuff. You want to talk to me?
I think it would help to, you know, like people understand to learn a language. You can't be in a class of 40 or 80 or 120, like our organic chemistry class. So, and when you're learning science, you're learning vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and then poetry versus prose versus, and yeah. If we can challenge things, let's challenge the idea that intro science classes are, you know, are best taught or it's okay to teach them in these giant things, because, you know, we're also trapped in our structure and I can't have a personal relationship with 70 students. I mean, I try and I die and I don't see my family. And you know, my kids say, I don't want to be a chemist cause you have to work all day and all night. So, and I also don't want the students seeing that and thinking that's the only way they can thrive or that that's the only way they can go forward. Then they definitely, well, I thrive, right. I I'm pretty thriving at this point. We're all friends here. This is my personal support group.
In one of our faculty cohort meetings this spring, someone said this feels a lot like therapy both the conversation with their partner and then also the processing that it is vulnerability making and it is affirming. And it really does challenge a lot of our deep structures of who we are, who we want to be and how we enact that in the classroom. So yeah, so we’re with you, Sheila, we're in it.
If only I had done a TED Talk about how you have to be vulnerable to be, oh, wait, that's, Brené Brown, who's now a millionaire from. I thought it, I just didn't say it on TED Talk.
But it's also interesting that we think of that kind of engagement as therapy, right. As something that isn't just like relationship, right. That isn't work. We have all these categories for things and I think what this partnership work does is break some of those down and reveal them. And then I think we can say, Hey, why can't that be just what we call relationship, right. What we call working together. And I think it's really helpful to recognize all these ways that we compartmentalize these modes when really they could inform a lot of ways of being.
Are you talking about being human? Yeah. Yeah, because of the, Being Human in STEM initiative that we've started here at Amherst.
All of what you're saying, like there's this reinforcement of the separation of the intellectual from the affective and the relational and the idea that we can have some kind of pure classroom with intellectual engagement without all these other pieces. Right. And all these sort of tension moments of like what Amalia was talking about, like, how do I engage? How do I get feedback? How do I ask these questions? Like you have to ask those relational affective questions to really be able to post those kinds of questions. And I know I'm preaching about Laura Randon, but her work just changed m. Her idea about new agreements and making the implicit explicit and then rewriting the agreements that we have in academia about what we expect of ourselves and what we expect of our students in our community. And yeah, I think it's a big deal to break those barriers down.
Would you put the name in the chat?
Yeah, I’m definitely looking for some instructional change because as I told it to my students, of course, we still have a grading system. It's very hard to convince them that learning is real, is a personal journey and it's really [unclear] to compare with other people, but I still compare them with each other, you know, to give them a grade. I told my students that the hardest part of my job is to assign grades. I'm so enjoy giving them feedback and what I'm teaching a data analysis course. And usually that the, I will kind of give feedback. And at the end, I realized, Hey, I need to, and that process usually take a much longer length of time. And that's why I just feel, honestly knowledge, as I mentioned earlier, I really feel that, you know, higher education shouldn't be just about knowledge. It's really about how to help them grow, how to help them to find themselves. And, but I feel that's a lot of the thing we are doing are not in place, unfortunately. And then, and I really feel that given, you know, student could easily learn this knowledge online. They can Google it. They can take a very quick online course and so on. So, knowledge, in fact, becomes very cheap, but what will really help them much down the road is those skills of self-discovery. And that part, we never, honestly, we never told them. Yeah. And that's why I really feel I don't know how to change that, but I'm glad we hear that some people have similar thoughts.
I'll give a plug for ungrading, which is all about what I do now. So, I don't grade anything my students turn in, I give them feedback and then they write a reflection a few times. And at the end, I say, what grade are you earning? And then we have that discussion of, yes, I agree with you. Or, you know, you're close, but here are the things you can do. You know, and if they're far that we have a much deeper discussion about, you know, why are we perceiving what's happening so differently? So it's not me convincing them. It's our perception is different. So let's find a way to perceive it, to like understand this in a similar way. And it has totally changed my relationship with my students and also my understanding of their learning [unclear], I also think, and I'll say some of them, I think, sort of still see it as the system that like, they come to my class and it's like, okay, this system is different here and I'll learn how to play his game. And then they leave it, they play the other games. But, I think it's been really valuable to think about what happens when I really give students that power. And a lot of them write really interesting and thoughtful stuff because they've been given the opportunity to, and the trust, and the space to do it because it doesn't matter if they mess up. Actually, they're rewarded for messing up, because it means they tried something harder. Right. And that's part of what I say, if you want an A, you need to challenge yourself and you need to tell me how, because that's different. So, you know, just that's my plug.
If I want to talk more with you and the Alison, I feel that you guys have already done a lot on making [unclear], which I'm trying to learn. Hopefully I can learn a little more each time.
So, we just want to thank you all so much for the support, the engagement with the program and just being in this space together. All of these conversations have been so rich. This one is just a demonstration of what happens when really good thoughtful people come together and think about the hard work of teaching and learning and relationship. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being engaged. Thank you, especially to Kriti and Steph, our P3 mentors, who helped lead our P3 cohort in such a phenomenal way and have really become pedagogical experts and colleagues in this work. That has been an incredible thing to see you all stepping into. And thank you, everybody, for good work in hard times. We look forward to a lot more conversation.