Transforming Culture for Powerful Learning
Alan Rieck, Ph.D. and Deborah K. Pattee, Ed.D.
University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire
ENGAGE: Sharing your name, where you are from, and why you chose to attend this session.
EXPLORE: Think of a time or place in which you felt a strong feeling of belonging. What conditions exist when you feel as though you belong in a particular place or
with a particular group of people?
EXPLAIN: “To belong is to act as an investor, owner, and creator of this place. To be welcome, even if we are strangers. As if we came to the right place and are affirmed for that choice” (Block, 3).
(Examples of impact of belonging in classroom, building, district, and community)
Discussion of Conversations of Community
ELABORATE: Within your personal situation what are some ways that you can develop a sense of belonging through:
EVALUATE: Check-out—Two comments or questions about creating belonging and the impact that it has on learning from this presentation.
Conversations of Community (Block, 2009)
Invitation—“Invitation honors the importance of choice, the necessary condition for accountability” (p. 113) “The invitation is more than just a request to attend; it is a call to create an alternative future, to join in the possibility we have declared” (p. 114). “Genuine invitation changes our relationship with
others, for we come to them as an equal” (p. 117). So, the invitation is a request not only to show up
but to engage, it declares, ‘We want you to come, but if you do, something will be required from you’” (p. 118)
EXAMPLES: Invitation to be a part of creating the experience, social contract, pre-requisites for
inclusion, ticket into class, PLC, Showcase events, Morning Meeting
Possibility—“The distinction is between a possibility, which lives into the future, and problem solving, which makes improvements on the past” (p. 124). “Possibility occurs as a declaration, and declaring a possibility whole-heartedly can, in fact, be the transformation” (p. 125). “The future is created through a declaration of what is the possibility we stand for” (p. 125). “The communal possibility is that space or
porous container where a collective exists for the realization of all the possibilities of its members” (p. 126).
EXAMPLES: Vision/purpose, challenging situations, Fish Video, shared collective purpose and
accountability (Martin-Kniep, 16)
______________________________________________________________________________ Ownership—“Community will be created the moment we decide to act as creators of what it can become. This is the stance of ownership” (p. 127). “How have I contributed to creating the current
reality?” (p.127). “People best create that which they own, and co-creation is the bedrock of
accountability” (p. 127). “What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change?” (p. 129).
EXAMPLES: Roles of community, stages of community (Peck 1987), BARNGA, Presentations
(Mean Girls, Tough Guise, Reading Strategies, Management)
______________________________________________________________________________ Dissent—“Creating dissent is the way diversity gets valued in the world. Inviting dissent into the conversation is how we show respect for a wide range of beliefs” (p. 130). “Dissent becomes commitment and accountability when we get interested in it without having to fix, explain, or answer it”
(p. 132). “Restorative community is that place where saying no doesn’t cost us our membership in the meeting or in the community” (p. 132). “The intent is for concerns to be expressed openly, not left to quiet conversations in the hallways, among allies, or in the restrooms. Dissent is a form of caring, not one of resistance” (p. 136).
EXAMPLES: Community Meeting, Assignment Clarification, Daily Questions
Commitment—“Commitment is a promise made with no expectation of return. It is the willingness to
make a promise independent of either approval or reciprocity from other people” (p. 136). “Wholehearted commitment makes a promise to peers about our contribution to the success of the whole” (p. 136). “Commitment embraces two kinds of promises: My behavior and actions with others;
and Results and outcomes that occur in the world” (p. 137). “Promises are sacred. They are the means by which we choose accountability. We become accountable the moment we make them public” (p.
EXAMPLES: Team Building Day, Attendance accountability, TU group assessment
______________________________________________________________________________ Gifts—“In our attraction to problems, deficiencies, disabilities, and needs, the missing community conversation is about gifts” (p. 139). “In community building, rather than focusing on our deficiencies
and weaknesses, which will most likely not go away, we gain more leverage when we focus on the gifts we bring and seek ways go capitalize on them” (p. 139). “Authentic acknowledgment of our gifts is what it means to be inclusive or to value diversity” (p. 139).
EXAMPLES: Colors, MI, Circles of Multicultural self, Dispositional Assessment
Morning Meeting /Circle of Power and Respect Prompt Examples
; Name your favorite movie and why?
; Two truths and a lie. Students break into groups and must each tell two statements that are
truthful and one that is a lie. Then the group must identify the lie. The best liars then share
with the class.
; What do you do to save the environment?
; Someone of another culture or race that has impacted your life
; What are your spring break plans
; What is your favorite cartoon?
; Do you have any pets? If not, what would be your ideal pet?
; Tell about your favorite family tradition
; Name a song/cd you love/own that you might be a little embarrassed to love/own ; What would you do if you won the lottery?
; What is something that makes you unique? Something that makes you who you are. Hi, my
name is Lindsay and something that makes me unique is that I say funny phrases, such as "good
gravy, cool beans, that's koshar, hot spit, ya know."
; If you only had one more vacation to go on and it was for 2 weeks with unlimited funds where
would you go and why?
; If you could be any person who would you choose?
; What song makes you want to dance? And if you'd like, show us some dance moves! ; Highs and lows of the day (yesterday if in morning)
; If you could be any animal for a day, what would you want to be and why?
; An interesting fact about your family.
; What is your proudest moment?
; What is the craziest thing you have done?" -Done in reference to it being Fat Tuesday aka. the
start of Marti Gras.
; What was the first car you ever owned?
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