Doing identity work as teachers

You should try this activity with a group of teachers who would like to engage with issues of difference and identity, but are not all from the same social class, ethnic or national backgrounds. Consider having a facilitator.

  1. Get together in a group and share instructions.
  2. Using a sheet of newsprint and coloured crayons or pens, each member of the group should draw their educational river of life, showing the critical incidents (high and low moments), the supports and hindrances along the way, culminating at the point they are at now.
  3.  In as diverse groups as possible of between three and six individuals, share your stories.
  4. Debrief in the larger group, discussing difference, commonalities, themes and trends which might require action or further discussion in your university setting, either in terms of how you interact and support each other, or in terms of how you interact with students.

Variation

You could decide to feature somewhere in the drawing the values or ideas which were particularly influential in your academic career. If you do not have a group of colleagues at your institution, you could consider trying this activity with colleagues from other institutions by constructing your river in a form that can be shared by email or in an online environment.