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Abstract

Building on the Piagetian concept of disequilibrium (i.e., cognitive conflict) and empirical research documenting relationships between cognitive conflict and transformative learning, this article explores the influence of facilitated conflict (i.e., intentional efforts by the instructor to help students reflect on and work through the intergroup conflict they experienced in the course) on the learning outcomes of female students enrolled in an exploratory diversity education course. Various forms of student writing including free-writing exercises and reflective papers were used in addition to two survey response questions to identify sources of cognitive conflict and assess student learning outcomes. Findings revealed that strategies of working through conflict like small and large group discussions were helpful to students. Student reflective papers and survey responses indicated that working through intergroup conflicts in the course encouraged support for working together for social justice.

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