Liberate classrooms can change educational experience

Faculty members Timothy Berry and Dani Scott hosted an event over Zoom called

“Creating a Liberatory Classroom: Building Connections, Centering Students Lived Experiences” supported by Women’s Center and Maverick Diversity Institute Tuesday.

The event was held in the format of a discussion with the audience accompanied by an educational presentation. According to Scott, the hosts wanted the event to be an open discussion to allow the audience to share their own experiences. 

“Once we give that background, give some practical information on what it is and what it looks like, then hopefully go into a shared dialogue of how we can address that problem,” said Scott. 

The discussion started with the topic of the recent book banning in educational institutions in Florida. The audience watched a video about white supremacy and afterward discussed their feelings and thoughts along with actions they wanted to take.

“I’m coming at this from a place of anger. It makes me mad to see that bureaucracy can make this change without backup and claim that this is not historically accurate,” said an attendee.

Scott and Berry described in detail what the white supremacy idea promotes for classrooms and how this becomes a barrier to a connection between students and faculty. Berry and Scott described Grind Culture in classrooms and pointed out what might be developed.

“That is a very elementary way of learning, but the highest levels of learning involve application and evaluation, and creation. And so whoever shows up in the classroom, a student of any age from any background should be encouraged to think critically and not just repeat what someone taught them, and make students more present in that learning experience,” said Scott. 

Listeners got involved in the discussion and brought up their ideas.

“We could start from the physical structures of the classrooms where students are not facing the faculty members but are sitting in a circle to communicate,” one faculty member said.

Scott described what she believes the perfect liberate classroom is.

“I think that the liberate classroom is a classroom where critical thinking is valued. One of the things about white supremacy culture is a consciousness,” said Scott. “It’s a way of thinking and that is what’s centered in the classroom than any person or any lived experience that shows up in your classroom that is counter to that standard. I think a liberated classroom is a classroom that welcomes all types of knowing.”

Visitors agreed that changes are to be made and many standards that modern classes have during the lectures are to be changed.

“The conversation brought up to me that in teaching methods we are confused compliance with student engagement. Are we engaging truly with our students in an authentic way,” one faculty member said.

Header photo: Faculty members Timothy Berry and Dani Scott discussed about how to create liberate classrooms and different ways to structure discussions and engagement among students and faculty. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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