Students take turns leaving their seats and coming to the front of the class to sit on a simulated bus bench next to one of their classmates, ostensibly to wait for the next bus. After five minutes or so, one person “leaves” on the imaginary bus and another student comes up to sit on the bench. As they sit waiting for the bus, each student enters a conversation with the other person waiting. Each role plays as a different character with a distinct backstory—a mother going home to her children, a first-year student meeting a friend, an older adult on his way to work. Each encounter is an opportunity to explore the verbal and physical cues of caring as well as examine noncaring interactions. Students are asked to attend to the subtleties of embodiment and the nuances of communication. After each person has had a turn at the bench conversation, students return their chairs to a circle in the room. Playacting is energizing and an eagerness to discuss what just transpired charges the room. A conversation begins. Students address what they experienced but they also apply past and present course readings about ethics, ontology, and epistemology. The students are involved in meaning making and knowledge creation as they critically consider how to care for unfamiliar others. All the while, they are learning and caring about one another.


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pp. 31-49
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Ceased Publication
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