The No Outsiders Classroom is a 2014-15 public art installation created by almost two hundred Education Studies students in the fall of 2014. This rather large collective of learners and artists were all pre-education students enrolled in an Education Studies course entitled *Issues and Problems in Education.
(See details, video, and course description after the link.)
As in many freshman classes at a large university the students in this large freshman course were enrolled in smaller discussions sections for this large freshman course. Each section worked as a group to discuss the lecture topics weekly. As a culminating group activity each section took on decorating an old school desk in an artistic endeavor to reclaim the classroom and rethink public education.
The LGBTQ Cohort UOTeachOUT – Teacher Desk
Among the seven sections one single class section filled entirely with LGBTQ students living in the gender inclusive housing project at the University of Oregon. This group enrolled together in an Academic Residential Community (ARC) with an academic focus on gender and sexuality studies.
The ARC that desigend and created the Teacher’s Desk was part of the LGBTQ Cohort as an Academic Residential Community housed in the gender inclusive “CommunityPLUS” area of university housing. Below is a video of several community members talking about the desk project and also talking about what it is like to be part of an inclusive and culturally sustaining cohort.
“This is what education can look like when you put the voices and ideas of marginalized youth at the center of teaching and learning.”
The student enrolled in the LGBTQ cohort were instructed by queer UOTeachOUT director and UOTeach Director Julie Heffernan. This group studied the same course material as the remaining six sections and simultaneously considered conceptions of equity, critical pedagogy, rethinking education and reclaiming the classroom. The group looked closely at equity issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation and were then given the “Teacher’s Desk” in an act of reclaiming the classroom.
The Teacher’s Desk Project in Process:
The remaining six sections were general population freshman enrolled in a lecture taught by Education Studies instructor Laurie Kahn and a team of doctoral graduate teaching fellows. Each of these sections took on the illustrations for a single wooden student desk. Once completed the seven desks together created a free standing classroom that has now been placed in a public commons as a classroom outside the confines of traditional imaginings.
EDST 111: Issues and Problems in Education
This course examines a series of specific social issues and problems confronting the U.S. public education system today. The course examines historic roots and contemporary approaches to the ways in which society defines and addresses public education issues and problems. Students explore current educational discourse and practices related to class, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, and citizenship. This entry level course offers a framing and introductory understanding of the educational topics of social difference, assimilation, and liberation in relation to U.S. public education.