To me, diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental norms that must be respected at all scales, from society at large to the classroom. But these norms can mean different things to different people. Because I believe respecting them involves honouring the uniqueness of individuals, I seek to get to know my students as individuals. To that end, I ask incoming students to complete a five-question survey on day 1. My goal is to find out each individual’s preferred pronoun, what drew each person to enroll in BES, what each person is most looking forward to and most anxious about and, perhaps most importantly, what each inclusion means to each person. After all, cohort deserves a say in what its inclusive classroom looks and feels like. This word cloud I created depicts how my 2020-21 class answers that question – the relative size of words / phrases reflects how common they were in students’ responses (which I coded for simplicity). I encourage students to look at this, periodically ask themselves whether we, as a community and I, as their educator, are meeting these standards and to communicate their feedback on how we can improve.
Let me just mention that the online generator I used is too slick. Super easy to use and it produces an SVG file, which I can then open in Illustrator and pimp to my heart’s content – I’ve used several other word-cloud generators before and this is by far my favourite. Hooray for Jason Davies.