VU (IO) – Mixed Classroom in Practice
10 aug 2018

A training course for lecturers in higher education who teach an international program

The increase in the number of international students creates new possibilities and complexities for instructors as well as students. In order to contribute to a stimulating international learning environment it is necessary to not only focus on the integration of the international target group in our host culture, but also to further globalize the education we offer. The program “Mixed Classroom in Practice” focuses on the main challenges and benefits that a mixed classroom offers, such as the students’ wish for a sense of belonging, possibilities of identification, complex group dynamics, mind bugs and implicit associations. The overall goal of this program is to become more experienced in dealing with these mixed classroom challenges and benefits, and to contribute to a stimulating international atmosphere on campus, including our own classrooms. VU wishes to be an inclusive organization where people feel they belong and feel comfortable to share their unique perspectives.

Overall goal: stimulating the international atmosphere on campus and providing an inclusive learning environment for all students in the “mixed classroom”

For whom
This course is intended for everyone in higher education who teaches in an International program, both Bachelor and Master level.

Three course sessions (3 hours each)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The program consists of three sessions of three hours each. Each session has an overarching theme, and requires some preparation in the form of i.e. reading an article, interviewing a student, or watching a video. During these meetings, participants share their personal and professional experiences in the mixed classroom, and discuss good practices. It concludes with an active learning activity that is aligned with one or more of the three themes, and that matches the participant’s teaching style and study program. This way the participant can integrate the learned practice in her or his teaching during the academic year.

Session 1: Blind spots and Our Implicit Associations (Ethnocentrism)>  Sharing Insights!
In this session, we explore different approaches to the theme, and build towards a body of literature that is relevant for all participants of “Mixed Classroom in Practice”. We examine human being’s blind spots, how these relate to our own frames of reference, and may affect in the classroom situations. We study the ways in which implicit associations affect everybody and can therefore automatically influence our teaching practices. The goal of this first session is to raise awareness that blind spots influence all students and instructors, and for the participant to identify and articulate how these may impact his or her teaching. At the end of the session, each participant identifies an issue that is related directly to his or her work experience. This issue is subsequently explored in the next two sessions in order for the participants to help raise awareness for his or her students to become aware of how they too are governed by blind spots and implicit associations of which they may not be aware.

Session 2: Concept of belonging, group dynamics and identification
This session looks at the key role of belonging for students who wish to thrive at their university. Questions that are explored are: What do students need to feel a sense of belonging at the university and in the mixed classroom? What role do fellow students and teachers have in fostering belonging among students? What mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion play a role within mixed classrooms? How do micro-aggressions and stereotyping affect a sense of belonging among students and how can these be mitigated by students and teachers? How to foster inclusive learning and teaching environments? During this session we gain insight in the students’ perspective, learn how student evaluations and experiences can help us improve our practice and develop our own tailored evaluation method. These questions are examined together through a discussion of the literature, a reflection of three case studies and a concluding debate with lecturers.

Session 3: Making a difference; towards an inclusive campus
In this session we take a close look at how the insights gained from pedagogical and communication research and the participants’ own experiences can be applied in the specific study program. How can we best move forward? What is necessary to educate our students in being part of the mixed classroom? What tools can we use? We will work at developing and discussing tools to work towards the design of a small intervention following our own learning objective. After this highly interactive session, you will have an idea of how to intercede within your own educational program in order to enhance the learning benefits of Mixed Classrooms by creating and developing inclusive learning environments and learning content to be incorporated in your own educational practice.

This course will be offered on the following days:

Edition 8 | Wednesday on 8 May, 22 May and 12 June 2019 | 10:00-13:00

Edition 9 | Monday on 13 May, 27 May and 17 June 2019| 10:00-13:00

Please sign up here to register for the training programme Mixed Classroom in Practice.

Official certificate
You will build a portfolio during the program. Completing the portfolio will lead to an official certificate.

Candidates from previous series will share their insights as well and have contributed to the improvement of the program by sharing best practices and expertise. As part of the program reflection sessions will be organized during the academic year.

For further information on course content and/or other questions, please contact: Wendy Maat, Head of Mobility Department, International Office:

T 020 59 84144  / E

Teaching staff

Siema Ramdas 

Siema Ramdas works at the VU Learn! Academy and is an experienced and trusted coach in the domain of diversity and internationalization in Higher Education. She has trained lecturers and other academic and support staff members at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, as well as at other institutes in higher education.

Amrita Das

Amrita Das has over fourteen years of experience in the field of corporate communications. She has worked with several multinational companies in Asia, Middle East, and Europe, to facilitate their internal communications, media and public relations activities. For the past six years, Das has been associated with the Vrije Universiteit (VU) working on her PhD in transnational poetry and cultural mobility on an NwO Mozaiek Scholarship. She is a BKO certified instructor and has taught courses for the VU Literatures in English department.

Testimonial for mixed classroom | Amrita Das

Marrije Prins

Marrije Prins is deeply invested in creating positive awareness and suitable behavioural perspectives on diversity in environments in which people of different ages, genders, professions and cultural backgrounds interact. Her background in Project Management, Social Work and Anthropology enables her to guide divers groups in creating innovative methods of development. Within the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Marrije is responsible for an Erasmus Plus project focusing on the collaboration between academia and industry and the recruitment and tutoring of the first International Bachelor within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Testimonial for mixed classroom | Marrije Prins

Guest Lectures

Candidates from previous series will share their insights as well and have contributed to the improvement of the programme by sharing best practices and expertise.

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