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Teaching with TendernessToward an Embodied Practice$
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Becky Thompson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041167

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041167.001.0001

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Creating Rituals

Creating Rituals

(p.39) 3 Creating Rituals
Teaching with Tenderness

Becky Thompson

University of Illinois Press

What rituals of inclusion do we need as teachers to allow students to keep their hearts open as they learn about social justices? What work do faculty need to do so that students can express their emotions when studying about the Middle Passage, rape, police brutality, sexual harassment, genocide, and other injustices? Allowing time for students to learn each other’s names and their genealogies, creating space for “stories that have been caught in our throats,” and making room for students’ anger are all steps for creating embodied classrooms. Incorporating free writing, taking circles, yoga, meditation, and closing circles can help students stay focused while modeling self-care. In this technological era where people are increasingly tied to their phones and computers, rituals of inclusion become an antidote and way of encouraging deep communication. These rituals also allow students who have been slated not to see each other—across race, language, culture, sexuality, and religion—to recognize each other in more complete ways. With a dramatic increase in depression, addiction, and anxiety among college students, these rituals also help students to get real with each other, to learn that they are not alone.

Keywords:   Meditation, yoga, classroom dynamics, depression, anxiety, PTSD, emotions, embodiment, teaching rituals, creative writing, poetry, music

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