Talking Circle IV: Affect and Feeling in the Classroom

July 12, 2022 from 13:00 to 14:30

Room Number: TRS 1-077

Facilitator: Veronica Austen (St. Jerome’s U)

Questions to Consider:

  1. In “Thoughts on Teaching as a Practice of Love,” Sharon Marshall forwards a pedagogy of love grounded in listening and in fostering students’ passions. For Marshall, this practice is the way to nurture diversity, promote social justice, and encourage respect. How do you see yourself creating your classroom as a space for emotion, be that a pedagogy of love or of some other feeling? 
  2. What are the opportunities and what are the risks involved in creating the classroom as a space of feeling? How do you manage the risks so that the opportunities can be realized? 
  3. In conceiving of the classroom as a space for affect and feeling, are we acknowledging that the classroom is a space with permeable boundaries, that what happens to us outside of the classroom affects us inside of the classroom and vice versa? If so, can our incorporation of affect and feeling in the classroom make our classrooms spaces of action (whatever ‘action’ is to you)?  

What is a Talking Circle?

Talking circles are inspired by Indigenous practice. These discussion circles will take the gathering outside the colonial frame by ceding the claim to knowing and authority presumed by the lecturer at the front of the room or by the panel of speakers who read papers and answer questions. Conversation or talking circles provide time for each participant to share. This slowed down pace of discussion creates an atmosphere of respect which also allows for emotional and spiritual ideas to enter into the discussion. 

In the circle, everyone is equal and interconnected. You have a right to pass in the circle, but are encouraged to share, because your voice, thoughts, ideas and opinions matter – this is how we learn to walk together in a good way. When sharing, use “I” statements. We honour lived experience. Focus your positive attention on the person sharing. Consider the possibility that there may be more for you to learn and benefit from, than what you’re currently aware of, or have experienced.

Based on the teachings of Dr. Willie Ermine – Cree Elder, Ethicist & Assistant Professor at First Nations University

Additional material provided by Jerri-Lynn Orr, Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, Lakehead University