We wrapped up our second season with a closer look at a theme that has come up repeatedly in our podcast: belonging. Our interviews with faculty have focused on a wide range of topics, including antiracist pedagogy, accessibility, experiential learning, well-being, and religious diversity. But, in conversation after conversation, the faculty, staff, and students we talked with emphasized the importance of the feeling of belonging in the learning experience. In this episode, we pulled together these conversations to highlight patterns, insights, and key takeaways.
Belonging helps us feel connected, accepted, included, valued, supported and understood. It’s essential and universal. On top of that, exclusion is a barrier to learning. In other words, belonging is an important aspect of how people learn—so how do we cultivate that sense for students?
We heard from several Georgetown faculty in this episode and compiled a few of their tips on cultivating belonging:
- Start with key principles. One place to look is Georgetown’s mission of cura personalis.
- Model vulnerability.
- Learn how to pronounce students’ names, and learn their pronouns.
- Invite student participation in class. There are a few ways to do this, which you can hear in the episode!
- Communicating clear expectations can make every student feel like they know how to succeed in class.
Importantly, in the words of Amrita Ibrahim, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Anthropology department, “you’re always learning,” as an educator and the work of inclusive pedagogy is ongoing.