I wrote about my plans for local intentional walking on my sabbatical here about a month ago, and since then I have made decent progress. I am about 19 miles in to my minimum goal of 62.14. One of my best walks was in the neighborhoods where Fisk University and Meharry Medical College are located, and I spent some time on the campus as well of both of those institutions. I have some definite thoughts on naming (buildings, schools, etc), which I wrote about here earlier this evening (https://medium.com/@williamsonsabrina4/whats-in-a-name-e75d511667f5) but more related to teaching, I have been reminded of the importance of active learning in authentic settings.
I teach a macro practice class for senior social work majors. This class includes content on the Civil Rights Movement and other social movements and community organizing strategies. I always tell them about the events that took place in Nashville, and we have watched clips, but why haven’t we had class in the community? I mean, I hate logistics and fear liability of people driving across town and having an accident when they would otherwise be in my classroom….but walking around and seeing the historical markers of events and knowing that I was walking where big things happened….this was priceless. It made the work, and the sacrifice that those students made, seem even more real. I think students would feel that too.
Another thing I have reflected on is the value of an assignment I use in this class. I have students go out in groups to learn about a neighborhood or community within our city. While they are there, I ask them to use the guidelines for Asset Based Community Development and to look for signs of hope, signs of change, assets at the individual level, association levels, etc. Being out in the community on foot has made me love this assignment even more. If the ABCD model is new to you, you can learn more here: https://abcdinaction.org/ Also, this is a good, in-depth piece on basic principles of what you look for in a community (history, infrastructure, leaders, etc) when you are working to understand it better: https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/describe-the-community/main