Mixed Classroom in Practice


The Vrije Universiteit aims to provide an open environment to students with backgrounds that vary on many different dimensions, such as religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, and socioeconomic status. Often, both in literature and in practice, the ‘diverse classroom’ and the ‘International Classroom’ are considered two different concepts, each with their own challenges and opportunities. In the context of the VU, we bring these concepts together. We believe that learning outcomes can benefit from building upon the diversity that is present in the classroom, towards constructive outcomes. 

Overall goal: building a safe and inclusive University Community with learners who can capitalize on differences between themselves and others.

As educational framework we use the Mixed Classroom Educational Model VU, which focuses on the eventual outcome of students being able to capitalize on different perspectives within the group. To reach that goal, we follow the three phases as defined in the Mixed Classroom Educational Model. We look at students’ wish for a sense of belonging, possibilities of identification, complex group dynamics and implicit associations. 

For whom
This course is intended for everyone teaching in higher education, both Bachelor and Master level. 

Duration 
Three course sessions (3 hours each)

This course will be offered on the following days:
Edition 9 | Fridays on 11 October, 18 October and 1 November 2019 | 10:00-13:00 | Location WN F664, HG 9A.41 and WN F664 respectively

Edition 10 | Thursdays on 7 November, 14 November and 21 November 2019| 10:00-13:00 | HG 10A.41 & 11A.36, HG 11A.37, HG 11A.36 respectively

Edition 11|Tuesdays on 26 November, 3 December, 10 December 2019| 10:00-13:00 | MF D618 & D563, HG 10A.36, HG 10A.41 respectively

Content
The program consists of three sessions of three hours each. Each session has an overarching theme, and requires some preparation in the form of e.g. reading an article, interviewing a student, or watching a video. During these meetings, participants share their personal and professional experiences in the mixed classroom, and discuss good practices. The course is concluded with the design of intervention that is aligned with one or more of the three themes, and that matches the participant’s teaching style and study program. This way the participant can integrate the learned practice in their teaching during the academic year.

Session 1: Implicit Associations and sharing insights
In this session, we explore different approaches to the theme, and build towards a body of literature that is relevant for all participants of “Mixed Classroom in Practice”. We examine personal blind spots, how these relate to our own frames of reference, and may affect classroom situations. We look at the ways in which implicit associations affect everybody and can therefore automatically influence our teaching practices. The goal of this first session is to raise awareness that blind spots influence all students and instructors, and for the participant to identify and articulate how these may impact his or her teaching. Using the framework of the Mixed Classroom Educational Model, each participant identifies an issue that is related directly to his or her work experience. This issue is subsequently explored in the next two sessions.

Session 2: Concept of belonging and identification
This session looks at the key role of belonging for students who wish to thrive at their university. Questions that are explored are: What do students need to feel a sense of belonging at the university and in the classroom? What role do fellow students and teachers have in fostering belonging among students? What mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion play a role within mixed classrooms? How do micro-aggressions and stereotyping affect a sense of belonging among students and how can these be mitigated by students and teachers? How to foster inclusive learning and teaching environments? During this session we gain insight in the students’ perspective, learn how student evaluations and experiences can help us improve our practice and develop our own tailored evaluation method.

Session 3: Making a difference; towards an inclusive campus
In this session, we take a close look at how the insights gained from the Mixed Classroom Educational Model and the participants’ own experiences can be applied in the specific study program. How can we best move forward? What is necessary to bring our students to the next phase? What tools can we use? We will work towards the design of an intervention following our own learning objective. After this highly interactive session, you will have an idea of how to intercede within your own educational program in order to enhance the learning benefits of Mixed Classrooms by creating and developing inclusive learning environments and learning content to be incorporated in your own educational practice.

Official certificate
You will build a portfolio during the program. Completing the portfolio will lead to an official certificate.
Candidates from previous series will share their insights as well and have contributed to the improvement of the program by sharing best practices and expertise. As part of the programme, reflection sessions will be organized during the academic year in collaboration with the Network for Teaching and Learning (VU Education Lab).

For further information on course content and to register, please contact: Siema Ramdas, LEARN!Academy: s.k.k.ramdas@vu.nl
To register, please fill out the registration form: https://forms.gle/HuayPcRpwnQxiCnd9

Teaching staff

Siema Ramdas 

Siema Ramdas works at the VU Learn! Academy and is an experienced and trusted coach in the domain of diversity and internationalization in Higher Education. She has trained lecturers and other academic and support staff members at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, as well as at other institutes in higher education.

Amrita Das

Amrita Das has over fourteen years of experience in the field of corporate communications. She has worked with several multinational companies in Asia, Middle East, and Europe, to facilitate their internal communications, media and public relations activities. For the past six years, Das has been associated with the Vrije Universiteit (VU) working on her PhD in transnational poetry and cultural mobility on an NwO Mozaiek Scholarship. She is a BKO certified instructor and has taught courses for the VU Literatures in English department.

Testimonial for mixed classroom | Amrita Das

Marrije Prins

Marrije Prins is deeply invested in creating positive awareness and suitable behavioural perspectives on diversity in environments in which people of different ages, genders, professions and cultural backgrounds interact. Her background in Project Management, Social Work and Anthropology enables her to guide divers groups in creating innovative methods of development. Within the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Marrije is responsible for an Erasmus Plus project focusing on the collaboration between academia and industry and the recruitment and tutoring of the first International Bachelor within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Testimonial for mixed classroom | Marrije Prins

Guest Lectures
Candidates from previous series will share their insights as well and have contributed to the improvement of the programme by sharing best practices and expertise.