The development of a supportive learning environment reflecting the expressed values of the University of Washington community is fundamental to this course. LISTENING with an open mind and striving to understand others’ views, and articulating your own point of view using direct communication, will help foster the creation of this environment. Being conscious of not monopolizing discussion and/or interrupting will help create this environment, as well. The following guidelines can add to the richness of discussion and the development of professional values based on the organizing principles of our profession.
- We assume that persons are always doing the best that they can, including the persons in this classroom.
- We acknowledge that systematic oppression exists based on privileged positions and specific to race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, and other social variables.
- We try to understand that to arrive at an understanding of systems of oppression, a crucial element to consider is the misinformation that persons and groups have been taught and internalized about themselves and others. While you cannot be blamed for being subject to misinformation, you are responsible for coming to a critical understanding of information processed and for not repeating misinformation.
- Assigning blame to persons in socially marginal positions is counter-productive to our practice. We can learn much about the dominant culture by looking at how it constructs the lives of those on its social margins.
- While we may question or take issue with another class member’s ideology, we will not demean, devalue, or attempt to humiliate another person based on her/his experiences, value system, or construction of meaning.
- We have a professional obligation to actively challenge myths and stereotypes about our own groups and other groups so we can break down the walls that prohibit group cooperation and growth.
We are a learning community. Part of functioning as a learning community is to engage in dialogue in a way that supports learning for all of us. Here are some guidelines that I try to use in my learning process:
- Assume that I might miss things others see and see things others miss.
- Raise my views in such a way that I encourage others to raise theirs.
- Inquire into others’ views while inviting them to inquire into mine.
- Extend the same listening to others I would wish them to extend to me.
- Surface my feelings in such a way that I make it easier for others to surface theirs.
- Regard my views as a perspective onto the world, not the world itself.
- Notice when I am attributing self-serving motives to others.
- Notice when I am distracted or not being attentive in my listening.
- Beware of either-or thinking.
- Test my assumptions about how and why people say or do things.