ED Resource Review: Breaking Down Silos

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Breaking Down Silos: Teaching for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Across Disciplines – Article Review

By Klodiana Kolomitro (December 20, 2018)
This article is a nice segue to an earlier review I did where the authors call for collaboration amongst backgrounds, roles, disciplines, and contexts to be able to foster equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Six faculty members across disciplines and across institutions share pedagogical strategies that foster equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the classroom.
The authors organize these strategies into four dimensions: 1) awareness, 2) knowledge, 3) skills, and 4) action. They share several examples in the awareness category, such as the cultural chest activity, personal mission statement, autobiography, cultural genogram, and TED talk on the danger of a single story, as ways of knowing oneself before learning about others. The authors argue that awareness is best developed early on in the course and debriefing conversations are critical in building self-awareness about EDI.  Once learners have a better understanding of self and others, they would be ready to increase their knowledge related to EDI. Hartwell et al, outline three different approaches (while proposing strategies for each one) to gaining knowledge: activating prior knowledge, connecting learning to the discipline, and providing tools for continued learning. Skills are another dimension that the authors consider to be important in order to “translate awareness and knowledge into practice.” They provide examples of pedagogical strategies that focus on developing learners’ ability to manage discomfort and communicate respectfully using deep listening skills, appropriate language, and empathy.  For students to be able to apply awareness, knowledge, and skills related to EDI, they need to take action. The authors explore different projects and activities that move students from feeling “overwhelmed and paralyzed… to become empowered agents of change.” They conclude by encouraging collaboration, individual and shared reflection, and modeling the behaviours and actions we would like to promote in our students.  
Article Reviewed:
Hartwell, E. E., Cole, K., Donovan, S. K., Greene, R. L., Burrell Storms, S. L., & Williams, T. (2017). Breaking Down Silos: Teaching for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Across Disciplines. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations1(39), 143-162.


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