Activity
Community building activities, Setting the tone activities

Learning to Love

Felecia Caton Garcia

Felecia Caton Garcia

Heather Wright

Heather Wright

This reflective activity allows students to consider love as a motivation and outcome in education.

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ACTIVITY PURPOSE

Many educators are bringing discussions of self-care into the classroom, and using those discussions as a way to encourage skills for success in educational environments. This activity could be very helpful in setting the tone for that kind of care. Additionally, it could also be used as a community-building exercise, as everyone shares how broader concepts of love relate to their learning experiences (and vice versa). This activity can be used at any point during a term.

USEFUL FOR

Building community, considering love as a motivation and outcome in education. 

PREPARATION

It’s good to have some context for this activity. We draw heavily on bell hooks for this by discussing the following quotes among other things:  

“When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abusive cannot coexist. Abuse and neglect are, by definition, the opposites of nurturance and care.” bell hooks, Love as the Practice of Freedom.

“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this ‘In order to love you, I must make you something else’. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.” bell hooks, Love as the Practice of Freedom.

“Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or another, into continued allegiance to systems of domination – imperialism, sexism, racism, classism. bell hooks, Love as the Practice of Freedom. 

We also set some tenets for our understanding of love in this context: 

  • Liberation cannot exist without the love of ourselves, and our communities; 
  • Self-care must arise from self-love; 
  • Institutions don’t love us, we must look to ourselves and our communities; 
  • Love is mysterious, transgressive, powerful, and cannot be commodified. 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set some background context by discussing the quotes above. 
  2. Invite an individual student or students to make a list of five things they love (for example, yourself, others, animals, activities, sensations or anything else). 
  3. Ask the student to choose one and write about why they love their choice. 
  4. Ask the student “what keeps them from loving more fully?” 
  5. Ask the student how these barriers might be removed, or to identify what resources could be offered so that they can love more freely? 

DURATION

20-40 minutes

ADAPTATIONS AND EXAMPLES

Do you have any suggestions? Please share them in the comments below.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

N/A

USEFUL RESOURCES

Do you have any suggestions? Please share them in the comments below.

ABOUT

  • Educator prep: None
  • Student prep: None
  • Synchronous, Asynchronous
  • No tech needed
  • Duration: 5-30 mins

This activity is one of a series of activities from Equity Unbound, focused on equitable online community building. 

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