2.2 Presentation Outline

In this outline, Open Education Instructional Designer Veronica Vold summarizes key themes and claims from the keynote presentation. It is intended to orient future participants to the presentation video recording on the next page and to capture the speaker’s major questions for the open education community in Oregon.

Outline for Power and Empowerment: Honoring By Decision and Design

Throughout this highly interactive presentation, Andratesha Fritzgerald models teaching strategies and deliberately makes her thinking explicit. Her approach allows participants to experience what a culture of honor feels like. Her presentation unfolds in five sections:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Finding Power
  • Part 2: The Problem of Power
  • Part 3: Recognizing Power
  • Part 4: Honor and Power


Andratesha begins by asking participants to decide how to capture their learning and collaborate with others during the presentation:

  • An interactive slidedeck and resource list allow participants to make choices about how to focus their attention
  • Participants rate their personal readiness for learning and share strategies for increasing readiness, even by a small amount
    • Participants customize their learning environment according to their needs: for example, closing 17 tabs, grabbing a snack or drink, or turning off email notifications
    • Andratesha emphasizes that giving the option to customize the learning environment is fundamental to Universal Design for Learning: supporting learner variability means honoring different ways of achieving and maintaining focus
    • Andratesha shares that “stories are like placing a straw to the brain”
  • Andratesha describes the “stops” or natural pausing points of the presentation:
    • Part 1: Finding Power
    • Part 2: The Problem of Power
    • Part 3: Recognizing Power
    • Part 4: Honor and Power
  • In naming these stops, Andratesha gives on-ramps or natural pauses so people who are distracted or unfocused know when they can come back to the learning process
    • If session organization is not transparent, educators run the risk of increasing student anxiety and students losing cognitive resources

Part 1: Finding Power

In the first part of the presentation, Andratesha asks: “Where is the power? Is there a power shift? Where is there honor?” She shares a personal story of experiencing exclusion in 5th grade (not included in the openly licensed recording).

  • Learners carry messages that educators may not know about
    • Students of color experience disproportionate rates of suspension, expulsion, and referrals to law enforcement
    • This internalizes a message that educators must work against by design
    • Design choices must communicate to every learner: “I have designed for you, you are welcome here” and “I see you as the picture of success”
  • Considering personal experiences as learners, what fills people up and what drains them?
    • If there is one learner who experiences an unjust practice, it hurts the entire community of learners
      • Questions for reflection: Where are we radically inclusive? Where have we marginalized identities?
  • Every learning design comes from a place of what we believe and what we think
    • dictionary definition of power: the ability to act and produce an effect
    • Every single educator has it
    • Because we have it, we use it as a force for inclusion
  • Universal Design for Learning is a liberatory framework to take curricula and bend it toward justice
    • UDL is the result of 30 years of brain research about learning
    • Created by CAST
  • The intention of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “must be coupled with a protective action to design for those on the margins or fringes of success in academia”
    • 3 Principles of UDL:
      • Multiple Means of Engagement: recruiting the interest of learners through learner choice and social and emotional engagement
      • Multiple Means of Representation: customize the display of information, using pictures, symbols, stories, and physical emphasis, maximizing the transfer of information
      • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: there is more than one way to show what you know
        • Multiple means of expression tears down gatekeeping and opens the door to innovation
  • Andratesha’s definition of power: “When awareness meets decision there is power”
    • Students who carry learning disability diagnoses should not be defined by how they learn
    • UDL welcome students into design of their own learning
  • Andratesha invites participants to define power for themselves
    • By weaving moments of silence, Andratesha notes that she give learners time to process, reflect, and recenter

Part 2: The Problem of Power

In this part of the presentation, Andratesha analyzes how powerful positions can shape brain development.

  • People in positions of influence are charged with making decisions for others
    • Research shows people in power are impulsive, less aware of risks imposing upon others, and less able to see points of view of others
    • They are vulnerable to stereotype threat: “the risk of confirming negative stereotypes about an individual’s racial, ethical, gender or cultural group, leading to high cognitive load and reduce academic focus and performance (Steele and Aronson 1995)
  • When students of color aren’t meeting an outcome or expectation, educators must pause, review their design, and ask if stereotype threat is at work
  • Bending curriculum toward justice means confronting what educators believe, digging into their biases, and changing their design
  • Andratesha argues that “Power in action is awareness of voice and value placed upon it through design”
    • Whose voice has your power invited?
    • Whose voice has your power dismissed?
      • Andratesha notes that this pause spirals back so that those who arrive late or feel lost can receive the link and feel included

Part 3: Recognizing Power

In this part of the presentation, Andratesha asserts that multiple doors can lead to learning, rather than only one right way for students to access content, to show what they know, and or to engage in support. What does it mean to truly honor multiple doors to learning?

  • Cultures of learning built on power differ from cultures of learning built on honor
    • Honor abolishes the limitations of the power structure at hand
    • A culture of honor recognizes multiple ways of learning, doing, and demonstrating mastery
      • “As I learn more about you, you show up in my design”
    • Andratesha asserts that “honor creates opportunities for members of the learning community to make powerful decisions that govern their best possible outcomes”
      • Those with power are least willing to admit that they have it
      • Designing learning opportunities with honor in mind also benefits custodians, secretaries, librarians: it fosters collaboration and community beyond the classroom
  • Key questions for personal reflection:
    • Where have you leaned on power?
    • What are some ways that you can design for honor?
      • Opening multiple doors to learning give learners more ways to share their brilliance
  • Design for anti-racism means recognizing that existing educational systems benefit those who occupy intersecting positions of power
    • People on the margins are trampled rather than treasured
    • Andratesha invites educators to consider Sylvia Duckworth’s Wheel of Power and Privilege to evaluate policies, content, assignments, and physical classroom space
      • People with the most power are at the center, and people with less power are at the edge
      • Practices for ensuring equity as supported by UDL:
        • Multiple means for engagement: do students see their interests reflected in how you teach the course? Do you help students develop self-regulation and skills to sustain effort so they can be prepared to learn?
        • Multiple means of representation: comprehension and perception is supported through different information formats?
        • Multiple means of action and expression: is there more than one way to show mastery?
    • Shifting cultures of power to cultures of honor
      • Success is measured by the progress a learner makes from the moment they encounter instruction
      • Invite feedback rather than becoming defensive or seeing feedback as threatening or inappropriate
      • Move away from a focus on perfectionism toward self-reflection
      • Build comfort in working as a team, fostering collaboration
      • Invite emotions and non-linear thinking

Part 4: Honor and Power

In the final part of the presentation, Andratesha synthesizes UDL and design for anti-racism in a series of self-reflection questions:

  • What decisions are educators making about others and for others?
  • What decisions are educators keeping from others? What barriers are educators designing to eliminate in secret?
  • In what areas are others least aware of your decisions? Have you examined your own awareness of power and privilege in your design?
  • Andratesha offers a series of commitments for educators to make to their students:
    • You are more important than systems, instructor preferences, or course packaging
    • I want to learn about you to help you reach your life goals
    • I will honor you with instruction that includes you and respects the power you bring
  • Andratesha closes with a video clip from Derek Redmond’s 400 meter race in the 1992 Olympics in which Derek tears a hamstring at the halfway mark and crumples to the ground as others finish the race (not included in the openly licensed recording).
    • Andratesha challenges educators to support their students the way Derek’s father, Jim Redmond, supported Derek: by joining Derek on the track, waving away officials who tried to stop them, and supporting Derek to the finish line

Licenses and Attributions

“Outline for Power and Empowerment: Honoring By Decision and Design” is adapted by Veronica Vold from “Power and Empowerment: Honoring By Decision and Design” by Andratesha Fritzgerald and is licensed CC BY-NC-SA.


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Designing for Justice: An Open Education Speaker Series Copyright © by Veronica Vold is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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