Whenever I teach a class for the first time, I usually add a place holder for a final exam that follows the usual format of multiple choice questions, open-ended essay questions, true-false questions and the like. Thus, my Interpersonal Communication Syllabus has an exam scheduled for the last week of class. While I try to based exams on situational examples that the students must understand, analyze, and unpack, I am aware that the exam format feels very stressful to students. And even when I try to make the exam more than a “regurgitation” of one type of text-book knowledge, it feels reductive—especially when it comes to the topic of interpersonal communication.
So this opportunity to create an inclusive lesson plan supplies the perfect opportunity to revise the culmination of the course to be or of a celebration of the different knowledges that students have gained over these 15 weeks and to help them understand why this knowledge matters. Thus, I have re-designed the final week +1 day of class to facilitate an exercise based on Augusto Boal’s theories reflected in the Theater of the Oppressed and specifically his conceptualization of Forum Theater.
My goals in redesigning the final are as follows:
Celebrate the knowledge that the students deem the most important and how they demonstrate that knowledge (). Support the student’s desire to not have to take an exam or write a traditional paper. I learned about their preferences in a brainstorm session and taking class time to discuss their feeling (). Promote equity in how students share, use, and value knowledge (Funds of Knowledge). Encourage reflection on how they will use and value the knowledge that they gained in this classroom working from a grounding exercise () Translate book knowledge into body and performative tools to help students to communicate with clarity and effectiveness. Collaboratively create something in real time that reflections many different experiences, interpretations, and ideas from different students to avoid a single story ()
These goals were inspired by and supported by Hogan’s work at UNC where she plans her classes around
“with clear instructions so all students know what to do before, during, and after class, and Class discussions facilitated so every student can participate.” () Additional things I will do to promote inclusion ():
2. Set ground rules with students
3. Focus on asking students what they think instead of telling
**I realize that my images need alternative text to accommodate a screen reader. I took a risk in using this new format, and I have not fully grasped how I can do this yet, but it is something I want to tackle in the future to meet UDL guidelines.