- What helps me understand differences in people’s backgrounds, skills, and values?
- What do other people do that helps or hurts my learning?
- What standards and expectations do I have for myself?
- What standards and expectations do I have for others?
- How should I respond if these standards and expectations are not met?
Second, I led a discussion on how students had answered the questions, noting students’ comments on the board.
Third, I distilled students’ ideas down into these guidelines for behavior:
- Create opportunities to learn from others, by listening, sharing ideas, and engaging in hands-on tasks in a collaborative manner.
- Recognize that other people may have perspectives, experiences, and skills that are different from one’s own.
- Be respectful of these differences; grant each person dignity—extend respect to others.
- Be conscious of one’s own assumptions and beliefs.
- Debate the idea not the person, and be curious—explore “How did you come to that idea?”
- Prioritize relationships with others—be mentally present.
- Allow others to enter the conversation; avoid interrupting when others are speaking.
- Be an active participant in one’s learning by being conscious of the process.
- Minimize distractions from electronics.
- Bring in knowledge from elsewhere and apply it.
- Stay one step ahead—manage time effectively.
- Build individual accountability into collective tasks so that one person doesn’t suffer because of another person’s irresponsibility.
- Ignore trivial differences of opinion but openly discuss behaviors that might lessen other people’s learning.
- Inform the instructor of unproductive behaviors when needed.
I’ll distribute this compilation to students next time we meet, and we’ll discuss the guidelines to give them a chance to make additional revisions. Students will then sign a printed copy of the final version. Later in the semester we’ll revisit these guidelines to review their effectiveness and make changes if needed.