As an educator, I always utilized experiential learning in my classes. When I started teaching Inside-Out in 2009, I immediately realized the power of community-based learning. Each time I facilitate an Inside-Out class, I learn. Inside-Out classes illustrate the power of creating collaborative learning spaces with people who normally do not share spaces in higher education. It is a privilege to be able to facilitate the learning journey we all continue to take through Inside-Out.
OPEEP has made it possible for me to bear witness to the transformative process of collaborative learning and education as the practice of freedom in a more powerful and intimate way, by allowing me to facilitate the intellectual development of groups of students who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to connect and learn from each other. Through my teaching, I attempt to empower students to use the knowledge gained about themselves and our society to challenge inequalities and injustices. I am grateful for the opportunity teaching OPEEP classes has afforded me to engage in this process of liberatory education with those beyond the walls of the university.
To teach an OPEEP course is to remember how to learn. My students and I build, collaboratively, a shared passion for new ideas, and student creativity and brilliance push me to be a better facilitator and teacher. Together over a semester, we realize that more connects us than separates us. Yet, important differences between us exist, so learning goals include developing ways to bridge and respect difference. Only by holding our differences intact through shared respect can we forge futures not tethered to inequality and prejudice. Through this process we find new confidence in ourselves and in knowing that there is deep and untapped capacity for collaborative learning to enact profound change in our society.