Teaching and Learning for Liberation : Winter Roundtable 2022

Last updated: Wednesday 2/16/2022 @ 5:25am
Lead presenter: Dr. Katherine Lee
Co-presenters: Henry Fan, Jeff Anderson

This is a companion blog post for our talk Teaching and Learning for Liberation Through Community Building and Interdisciplinary Collaboration that our team gave on Friday 2/25/2022 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM EST as part of the Columbia University’s Teaching College 39th Annual Winter Roundtable Conference.

As is stated on the Winter Roundtable homepage, “the Winter Roundtable is the longest running continuing professional education program in the United States devoted solely to cultural issues in psychology, education, and social work.” This year’s Winter Roundtable conference is titled “Collective Action & Liberation in Psychology and Education, is a call to students, scholars, professionals, and activists to come together as we chart a path forward toward our collective liberation.”

In this blog post, we share all resources we generated for this talk as well as other resources that might be helpful for participants who want to return to these ideas after the talk ends. Enjoy.

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To thrive in college, become a scapper

In many colleges in the United States, almost half of first-year college students do not make it to graduation. Stop and think about this for a minute. Our current US higher education system is designed in such a way that it kills the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of almost 50% of the students who enter through its gates. As you meditate on this reality, let’s run a related thought experiment. What would you say about an airline company that designs and flies planes that kill 50% of it’s passenger? Would you buy a ticket from that company? Would you support letting that company maintain the status quo?

To me, when I think about how our current policy choices fail to support so many students, I see a need for major reforms. I want to avoid blaming students and faculty for this failure. While I believe each of us has a moral responsibility to challenge current policies and advocate for reform, I also realize that no individual shoulders the entire weight of the injustices that are baked into our current system. Instead, I believe we should learn to focus our collective energies on policy changes to better support our local communities in creating significant learning experiences in college and beyond. Such policy changes will require decades (if not centuries) of sustain activism at the grass-roots level.

In the meantime, if you are part of the current generation of college students, our community here at The Learning Code wants to help you develop and refine system-navigation skills so that you can thrive in an environment that is designed to weed you out. As part of this effort, I want to help you develop a scrapper’s mindset, which is exactly what we explore in this post.

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Get Paid to Learn

This post is a landing page for The Learning Code’s Get Paid to Learn project. Our mission at the TLC is to empower you to thrive in your education. One way we do this is to support you in learning how to navigate your degree at whatever institution you choose. We provide ideas, support, training, and stories to help you figure out how to learn in strategic and effective ways so that you make the most of your college experience. We focus on helping you tap into your intrinsic motivations and to center the values you hold most dear in your heart. We also encourage you to develop critical consciousness and identify ineffective policies that inhibit your growth as you work to earn your college degree.

One incredibly harmful set of policy choices that we’ve made in the United States is to transform college education from a public good into a private benefit. These policies results from a sustained neoliberal attack on public investment in education. The result is a system that financially benefits a very small number of super rich, Protestant, heterosexual, non-immigrant, White, Anglo-Saxon males at the expense of everyone else in society.

To counteract these policy choices, we believe the best remedy is to get educated and engage in democratic processes at your local, state, national, and even international levels . As you do so, we encourage you to advocate for more learner-friendly policies and to act in solidarity with others who share this vision. However, the process of policy reform will be difficult and require decades (or even centuries) of sustained activism. In the meantime, we want to help you find ways to pay for college and minimize your student debt. That is exactly what our Get Paid to Learn project is focused on.

On this Get Paid to Learn project homepage, you will find a number of resources to help you learn how to make money in college and minimize your debt while earning your degree. We provide blog posts, interviews, handouts, exercises, YouTube videos, spreadsheets, and many other resources. All of this work is designed to make the process of earning scholarships easier and less intense. Remember though, scholarships are a stop-gap measure to counteract under-investment in education. The real fix happens when we act together to force our democratically-elected representatives to invest more in education. Cheers to that journey and the struggle. Remember always: we are here to support you!

Continue reading “Get Paid to Learn”