7 into 15: Scenes from the Classroom

7 into 15 Scenes from the Classroom7 into 15: Scenes from the Classroom

On October 26th, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning welcomed the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRTL) Players, a group from the University of Michigan with a national reputation for their work using theater to seed reflection on educational climate, for an interactive performance of 7 into 15: Scenes from the Classroom.

This event continued the 2016 – 2017 Inclusive Teaching at Princeton series, an initiative that began last year with “Politics of the Classroom: Who Speaks? Who is Heard?” and continued this fall with a talk by Professor Shaun Harper on “What Makes Teaching and Learning Inclusive.”

Performing before a group of close to 100 students, faculty and postdoctoral associates, the Players performed eight brief sketches from life in the classroom where power, status and identity play significant, if not always visible, roles. Following the sketches, Dr. Sara Armstrong, Artistic Director of the Players, facilitated a discussion in which participants were invited to reflect on how we can respond effectively to the ethical, political, and personal dilemmas encountered by all concerned when faced with such challenges in the classroom.

Carl Adair, a graduate student in English, said “The CRLT Players performance spoke to a number of my anxieties as a preceptor and helped me better understand what my students may be feeling. The skits raised a number of provocative questions that I've continued to think about: how can I plan activities that give less vocal students the time and resources to formulate a brilliant comment or question? How can I better acknowledge the stresses and anxieties that my students bring into the classroom, and how can I use my authority to make a space safe enough for everyone to do the challenging learning? How can I articulate my expectations for a respectful and inclusive discussion at the beginning of the term, and make those expectations concrete? The follow-up discussion after the skits helped me to explore some potential answers to those big questions.”

The CRLT Players performance was co-sponsored by The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, Office of the Dean of the College, Teagle Foundation, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity.