Multidisciplinary Reflections

Dr. Cynthia Gadsden





What were your expectations?

My expectations were that in exploring their individual sense and perspective of community the students would begin to make connections to broader the communities in which they participate, (i.e., familial, cultural, scientific field, student body, student organizations, etc).


What pedagogical approaches did you decide to implement and why?

The pedagogical approaches that I employed were extended epistemology, contextual knowing, cultural inclusiveness all of which relate to education that engages the whole person. This approach provides opportunities for students to interject their home lives into their academic lives in meaningful and significant ways. It also helps students to draw on all aspects of their lived experience rather than compartmentalized segments of their lives that have been deemed important (i.e., career).


Do you think your approach was multidisciplinary? If so, how?

Yes, this approach was multidisciplinary in that it draws from education (whole person engagement/extended epistemology), social science (psychology, social), sociology (interpretive), and humanities (visual arts, writing, education).


Did your implementation go as expected?

No, we ran out of time, but I believe the sessions were effective. Activities that build community take time (especially when incorporating sharing with one another and the entire group).



What parts of the implementation were a surprise or unexpected?

The surprise was how open the students were to engaging with their lived experiences and one another on a deep and meaningful level. This happened quickly.


What would you do differently next time?

Either allow for more time and/or decrease the activities.


How did this experience impact your future teaching approaches?

In many ways it reinforced my existing teaching approach, but I plan to provide more opportunities for students to bring their lived experience and home life into their and academic life. These types of activities are particularly meaningful to students, whose emotional support often comes from family, community, cultural knowledge, and long standing relationships (i.e., family, friends, church, community, etc).


Is there anything else you would like to add?

This was a great experience. I enjoyed working with my collaborators and the students. I learned a lot.

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