Inspired by Lorgia García Peña’s book, Community as Rebellion: A Syllabus for Surviving Academia as a Woman of Color, our group (Karanja Carroll, Tara Coleman, Alexis Jemal, and Erica Roe) elected to explore community-building as our public knowledge project. The purpose of this project was threefold: 1) We aimed to center for the voices of our students. 2) We wanted the project to build community through the discussion of community building and the sharing of community-building strategies. 3) We wanted to create a repository of community-building techniques, suggestions, critiques, and offerings. The project consisted of creating an Instagram account for people to post their responses to questions and organizing a virtual launch on zoom on 12/6/22, 4 – 5 PM.
We asked our students the following questions:
- How Do We Create Community in Education (the classroom)?”
- What is one thing your professor does that you would imitate or change if you were teaching this class?
- If you were leading a group, what is one community-building strategy from your classroom that you would adapt and how?
- “How do we hold each other accountable for building community?”
- What does accountability look like when building community in the classroom?
- What are the challenges to creating community in the classroom?
The organizers invited their students to post responses to the Instagram account handle Notthemasterstools or using the hashtag #Notthemasterstools. Approximately 30 people from the CUNY community (including about 5 of the organizers’ students) attended the Zoom meeting.
The Zoom meeting began with Karanja opening with a warm welcome. He introduced TLH and the team. Importantly, he introduced our project and gave context for our project on community building. Lastly, he discussed examples of his methods of community-building. Erica and Tara presented the community building project. They displayed the Instagram posts and discussed community building methods in their class. Erica displayed a powerpoint with her students’ thoughts on community building. They discussed strategies such as pair share, mentimeter, and charades. Tara also introduced her student’s comments using Jamboard. Tara opened the discussion for comments from the audience and several people shared. Many of the comments provided a smooth transition to the last section of the session on accountability facilitated by Alexis. Alexis introduced herself and gave examples of community-building strategies that she uses. After a brief introduction on accountability, Alexis led the attendees in an activity wherein the attendees used Jamboard to answer the questions originally posed to the students. While participants answered the questions, two songs by Nina Simone were played. After about 10 minutes, the attendees debriefed the Jamboard and shared what resonated for them from the postings. After a generative discussion, we asked if anyone had questions or comments. We encouraged participants to continue using the hashtag and we thanked the guests for coming.