Keep checking here for Katy and Karen’s guides for instructors and ideas about how to include concepts from Jacked Up and Unjust in your courses. We will also include ideas about how to improve the climate of the classroom while honoring diversity, justice, and critical inquiry. Some of the lessons about racialization, racism in America, colonialism, structural violence, male domination, the history of patriarchy in Western societies., and multiple inter-locking inequalities can be difficult topics to discuss openly. Our guides can help instructors maintain a climate of compassion, while discussing multiple histories of oppression.
ICE BREAKER ACTIVITY: WHAT IS IN A NAME?
To create understanding, respect, and emotional bonds among students and the instructor
To note cultural similarities and generate compassionate understanding of and tolerance for differences among students
Ask students to tell a story about what their name means to them.
Are there family traditions that are passed on in their names? If so in what ways? Are there family traditions associated with their names that they would like to know more about?
Are there other family traditions that they remember growing up? If they feel comfortable sharing, can they explain what they like about these traditions? What do these traditions mean to them today? What might they mean to them in the future?
Wrapping Up: One of the main ideas communicated in Jacked Up and Unjust is that caring adults can help create peace, tolerance, and compassion for and among young people. The “what is in a name” activity is meant to help students respect the diversity within a classroom and college by learning, first hand, about the various traditions practiced within students’ families. Remember that the idea is to combat the historic process that reinforce cultural hierarchies and to emphasize that all students are equal and worthy of respect, dignity, and opportunity. As Lunch Bunch teens reminded us, learning is enhanced when students feel that others care about them.
Ethnographic Note: Some of the Lunch Bunch students did not know the meaning of their given names. When community leaders came to visit the Lunch Bunch and during field trips to the UH Manoa campus, some students of Native Hawaiian ancestry asked and received answers about what their name means from others who speak the Hawaiian language.
If students want to know more about the meaning of their names, find out if there is a group within or a member of the campus or local community who can give them information. Karen and I have found that universities, colleges, and communities are rich with people who have acquired extensive cultural knowledge. Connecting young people with sources of authentic information about their heritage has been proven to be effective in empowering young people and contributing to youth resilience. At the University of Hawai’i, all students are encouraged to find a “family” within the University and there are many groups, centers, colleges, and support services available to provide these connections for students.