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The Pedagogy of Kindness: The Discussion Continues

The Center for Teaching & Learning is proud to present additional sessions in a discussion series for faculty: The Pedagogy of Kindness: The Discussion Continues.

The Pedagogy of Kindness is a pedagogical approach focused on creating learning that is accessible and welcoming to all. This discussion series is geared towards exploring how the Pedagogy of Kindness can apply to teaching today. It will explore strategies, concepts, and paradigms aimed at building learning environments according to three main themes: building community, being mindful in the classroom, and collaboration.

Please join us for any or all of the sessions below. Space is extremely limited; register at http://bit.ly/PoKcontinues.

If you have any questions, please email CTLOnline@qc.cuny.edu.


Discussion 1: Crowd-Sourced Learning Collectives Thursday, May 27th, 2021 | 4:00-5:15pm

Research has shown that active, collaborative, peer-to-peer learning fosters greater student engagement, promotes deeper learning, and boosts retention. This workshop introduces some strategies and techniques for facilitating collaborative learning across a variety of contexts and disciplines. We’ll discuss some ways to create a classroom environment that welcomes the whole student, how to check and reinforce understanding through the development of crowdsourced materials, how to get the most out of practices like peer review, and ways to encourage holistic class participation. Participants will also have the opportunity to try a “crowdsourcing” activity to share their ideas with one another.

Guest Presenter: Lindsey Albracht, PhD. (ENGL)

Lindsey Albrecht

Dr. Lindsey Albracht works as a lecturer in the English Department and is a recent alumna of the CUNY Graduate Center English program. She specializes in writing studies, translingual writing, critical educational technology, and faculty development. Her research considers how to support faculty education for instructors of writing to move toward more anti-oppressive translingual pedagogical approaches. Dr. Albracht has previously taught writing at John Jay College and Duquesne University, and worked as a Digital Pedagogy Specialist at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Baruch College and a Teaching and Learning Collaboratory Fellow at Macaulay Honors College. Her neighbor’s needy cat may or may not make an appearance during this discussion. 

Discussion 2: Building an Alternative Synchronous Classroom Environment – Tuesday, June 1, 2021 | 12:15-1:30pm

Slack is a useful and versatile, albeit often overlooked, alternative platform and content management system for synchronous remote teaching. Students (and instructors!) often find the text-based live discussion Slack makes possible to be a welcome relief from Zoom fatigue. This portion of the discussion series will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the platform–especially in terms of how Slack both differs from but also affords lessons for in-person teaching and the ways in which we conceive of *discourse* in the classroom.

Guest presenter: Cliff Mak, PhD. (ENGL)

Cliff Mak

Cliff Mak is assistant professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, where he primarily teaches modernist literature. He is completing a book project on formalisms of instinct in modernist literature, and some of his essays have been published in ELH, Modernist Cultures, Modernism/Modernity, and ASAP/J.

Discussion 3: Vulnerability in the Classroom – Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 12:15-1:30pm

At the core of higher education are the educators themselves, specifically Adjuncts who make up the majority. Utilization of kindness practices not only translates to various aspects of our lives, but more importantly students. In this session we will explore why vulnerability in the classroom is important by creating transparency between students and instructors. Using research and her neuroscience flair (or love of neuroscience), Monda will review the importance of intrinsic motivation, empathy and creating a growth mindset in the classroom. She hopes to create a safe space for adjuncts to discuss and share their own experiences.

Guest presenter: Ilyssa Monda, M.A.B.N. (PSYCH)

Ilyssa Monda

Ilyssa Monda is an adjunct lecturer in Psychology at CUNY Queens College, Hofstra University, and CUNY Queensborough Community College. At QC, she teaches Psychopathology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, and Neuroscience of Memory. She received her Master’s in Behavioral Neuroscience from QC, with research focusing on the usage of marijuana and neurocognitive functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Outside of her research, she has been a consistent advocate for adjunct lecturers, and received recognition for “Outstanding Adjunct” in 2018 at Queens College.

Discussion 4: “Breaking Out” of High Stakes Assignments – Monday, June 7, 2021 | 12:15-1:30pm

At the core of all learning is practice, whether we’re practicing mindfulness, writing, music, or mathematical equations. But how often do we assess our students based on the process and practice of learning, rather than the product? How can we scaffold low-stakes assignments to engage students and empower them to succeed as we raise the stakes? In this discussion, we’ll explore diverse tools for creating low-stakes assignments, beginning with a model from a First Year Writing Class. We’ll address the ways in which encouraging autonomy in student collaboration develops their sense of accountability in terms of their own learning and as a community of learners. Join us and brainstorm low-stakes assignments for your own online, hybrid, or in-person courses.

Guest presenter: Rachael Benavidez, M.A. (ENGL)

Rachael Benavidez

Rachael Benavidez is an Adjunct Lecturer of English at CUNY Queens College and at BMCC. She is also the Assistant to the Directors of First Year Writing (FYW) at QC and received her Master’s in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Africana Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests focus on cultivating student recognition of their emerging scholarship through scaffolded low-stakes writing assignments and on the discourse of visual rhetoric.

Discussion 5: Inclusivity, Engagement, and Neurodivergence – Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | 4:00-5:15pm

Through her experience as a Master’s student and Faculty member, Farrah Goff will detail how to work through learning during the pandemic. The leading philosophy behind her pedagogical style is seeking to understand how to create a virtual environment that best supports neurodivergent students, and students with disabilities. She will discuss the use of low-stakes writing, breakout rooms, and other engagement techniques that simultaneously promote a classroom community while allowing for safe exploration and even celebration of students from all different situations. 

Guest presenter: Farrah Goff, M.A. (ENGL)

Farrah Goff

Farrah Goff is an adjunct and proud graduate of the English Department with her MA in English Literature (during a pandemic no less)! During her Master’s Degree Farrah was a Graduate Teaching Fellow which began her passion for pedagogy. During her time at Queens Farrah has worked to combine her interests in Disability Theory, Modes of Communication, and teaching. She has spoken about the intersection of Neurodivergence and the college classroom as a keynote speaker at the recent Graduate Student Conference at University of Arkansas. She was the recipient of the Nancy Comley Prize from the English department in 2020 and has participated in several workshops with the CTL.

Discussion 6: Gamifying Multilingualism – Wednesday, June 9, 2021 | 12:15-1:30pm

With the shifting classroom dynamics of the last year, new modes of relaying information and engaging students have revolutionized the class environment. Dr. Sara Alvarez will discuss some of the ways she has been able to use games to cultivate students’ multilingual literacies. Dr. Alvarez will demonstrate two different games that have shown success in her classrooms, and show how to utilize these platforms to engage emergent bilingual and multilingual students.

Guest presenter: Sara P. Alvarez, PhD. (ENGL)

Sara Alvarez

Dr. Sara P Alvarez is Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, CUNY. Her qualitative research focuses on the multilingual and academic writing practices of self-outed U.S. undocumented young adults. Sara is also Associate Investigator with CUNY’s, first of its kind, Initiative on Immigration and Education (CUNY-IIE), learning with and from the K-12 lived experiences of immigrant-generation students and their communities in the state of New York. Dr. Alvarez’s publications have appeared in the journals Equity and Excellence in Education, World Englishes, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, among others.

Discussion 7: Teach one, teach all: Supporting Multilingual Students – Monday, June 14, 2021 | 12:15-1:30pm

When addressing how to support students from different backgrounds, oftentimes there becomes a concern of how to work with multilingual students. Dr. Etienne Kouakou will address how to engage with and bolster minority students, as well as international students. His strategies will focus specifically on how to be inclusive to non-native speakers, and how to support them at QC. He will also address how to encourage those students take ownership of their own learning.

Guest presenter: Etienne Kouakou, EdD. (ENGL)

Etienne Kouakou

My name is Etienne A. Kouakou. My home campus is Hostos Community College, where I have served as an instructor in the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) since January 2013. As you may have guessed, my primary interest is English as a Second Language. However, I am also interested in writing and rhetoric, and I currently teach various freshman English composition courses at Queens College. This snapshot was taken on a field trip with my Hostos students. Many years ago, I was a middle and high school English teacher. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and practicing Shotokan Karate, which has been my passion for over forty years.

Discussion 8: Breaking Up With Bossy/Boring Syllabi – Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | 4:00-5:15pm

During this pandemic, we’ve been challenged to rethink and innovate many of our approaches to teaching in ways that will benefit our students even when we return to the physical classroom. But what about our syllabi? In this interactive discussion, we will critically re-evaluate and re-invigorate this core course document. How might our syllabi welcome students into a conversation (rather than compel them into a “contract”)? How can our syllabi inspire and excite our students about the work of the class (rather than produce feelings of anxiety, fear, or inadequacy)? What possibilities exist for creating engaging multimodal syllabi (that move away from the typical 8-10 pages of text on a Word document)? Come with questions; leave with new ideas and possibilities for your syllabus.

Guest presenter: Christopher John Williams, M.F.A. (ENGL)

Christopher Williams

Christopher John Williams (he/him/his) is Associate Director of First Year Writing in the English Department. He teaches courses in the First Year Writing program and undergraduate creative writing along with the practicum for new graduate student instructors. Recent conference presentations have focused on improving support for multilingual students in first-year composition courses. 


Image source Unsplash

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