“Community” is a word and concept that permeates education.  However, “community” is a word we take for granted, and there is no one experience of community.  Each of us has different experiences that inform our conceptions of it.  In order for us to build a learning community, let’s be intentional and transparent about what we mean by community and how we will perform “community” in this course.  We all have different expectations and goals in this community and we need to make sure everyone has an opportunity to succeed. 

For example:

  1. What kinds of behaviors and agreements will help us achieve community?
  2. What kind of behaviors might cause unintentional harm? What behaviors should we avoid?
  3. What if someone breaks a norm?  How should we handle it?

To help us establish community, we are going to decide on a set of compassion agreements. Below is a list of sample agreements created by previous classes. 

  1. Have the mindset that your opinion could change.
  2. Listen, say “yes” to new ideas, especially those which make us uncomfortable, wait before responding, and focus on clarifying questions.
  3. Participate by preparing, listening, speaking, and inviting others to engage in whatever ways they can.
  4. Recognize others’ suffering and affirm their experience with grace.
  5. Listen first with only the purpose of understanding what others, including texts we read, are saying and how those ideas are important to that person.
  6. Make use of conflict by confronting our discomfort, asking for help when it’s needed, and accepting others’ perspectives.
  7. Care for one another and yourself with trust and graceful inquiry.

For Writing Activity 2, do the following:

  1. Rank the seven compassion agreements above from the one you like the most to the one you like the least using the numbers. For example: 5, 3, 2, 6, 7, 4, 1
  2. Are there any compassion agreements you think should be eliminated? If so, why?
  3. Are there any compassion statements we should include that you don’t see in the list of seven? What is it?
  4. Finally, and most importantly, what do you think of the idea of using compassion agreements to establish community in our class? How might it impact your work in the class?

Words required for full credit: 250 words

ADD references. 

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