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PUR:611 Inclusion: The Art of Story-Listening (Online Facilitator Training)

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This cousre uses activities from the book Inclusion: The Art of Story-listening

Perfect for your teams next retreat this training includes breakfast, lunch, and a signed book. Attend this training workshop with other or book a private retreat session at your location or one of our retreat facilities. Contact Dr. Derrick Drakeford at 301.358.6665

The course and book provide narratives, counter-narratives, academic research, and activities to better understand the Art of Story-Listening in theory and practice. The selected voices are former students, colleagues, and professors who share their stories and lessons on inclusion. It is our hope that this book helps your everyday practice in the craft of mindfulness and the art of story-listening



Purpose of Book and Workshop

This book examines diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism by taking a closer look at storytelling from the perspective of the listener. Here we use the research method of autoethnography (or life story telling) to better understand how to communicate and accept difference across race, culture, gender, ability, and identity. I have learned that the times in my life when I have failed at inclusion, patience, and empathic listening (Covey, 1989) have been the times when I did not eagerly listen to the stories of others.

My experience as a professor at both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) has taught me that each student and teacher brings to class a unique story. I have made it my job to care enough about each student to become eager to hear their life story and background. It is their story, which colors the ways in which they approach the class, the material, their classmates, and their instructor.

To become an inclusive instructor and leader, for me, has been the journey to become an expert story-listener. It is when I position my body, mind, and enthusiasm as an eager story-listener that I can become a more inclusive leader. An inclusive leader creates a space where story-listening is common, expected, and valued.

Story-listening is the antidote to prejudice. It makes sense. Webster’s dictionary defines prejudice as, “preconceived judgment without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.” Prejudice is to pre-story tell onto someone else. It is to read our own life story, stereotypes, and experiences onto another person without ever asking them. Prejudice limits our ability to see others clearly.

Unfortunately, there is prejudice in the classroom, the boardroom, and the courtroom. It happens when we create a space where ‘others’ voices and ideas aren’t heard, validated, and eagerly anticipated. It happens when arrogant professors (of whom I am chief) believe they are the only authority on a subject, and assume the false role of ‘expert in charge.’ This attitude of arrogance strips away the agency and individual authority of each student’s privilege to intellectually disagree. For me, it is a daily struggle to forgo my storytelling, teaching, and professing to enter a space where we all can become story-listeners.

This book is an effort to cultivate a mindset of inclusion and empower leaders to re-create this mindset through story-listening.

In Chapter 1, we set the stage by discussing the art of story-listening by examining the research method of autoethnography. In Chapters 2 through 8, we practice story-listening by reading the diverse stories of courageous co-contributors. In Chapters 9 through 11, we examine three academic articles which utilize life-stories to introduce; a) the new construct of 'dross education,’ b) a grounded theory on the process of finding one’s calling in life, and c) a historical look at social entrepreneurship at HBCUs, and a prescription for liberal arts schools to create inclusion by cultivating social entrepreneurs who wrap entities around their positively constructed identities. In Chapter 12, “I Failed” I briefly walk the reader through one of my private failures on race to model self-reflection. In Chapters 13 through 22, we provide leaders and teachers practical team-building and diversity activities.

In summation, our book provides narratives, counter-narratives, academic research, and activities to better understand the Art of Story-Listening in theory and practice.



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