Title

How does a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle-class faculty member teach diversity?

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

This interactive session will describe how one majority-culture faculty member teaches a cross-cultural counseling graduate course. The presenter will share concrete course structure, tone, activities, and processes as well as student reactions to the course. Participants are encouraged to bring and share their own strategies and experiences with teaching diversity.

Description

I am a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle-class faculty member and I teach diversity. I recognize that because I have little direct experience with marginalization, I have to work to bring the voices of oppression into the classroom. This session will illuminate both the overarching tone of my course and some of the day-to-day course activities. In terms of the big picture, I see at least two themes as relevant in my conceptualization of the course, and really, of diversity: (1) Multicultural competence is a goal, not a fixed construct that students or I can “accomplish” at the end of the course or even over a lifetime. I model that multicultural understanding is a way of living. (2) Majority experiences cannot be considered the norm or the reference point from which non-majority experiences are compared. Thus I do not teach “minority” issues such as race; I teach about race and racism. We learn about the race and culture of Euro-American or white, rooted in unearned and unseen privilege, as well as the races and cultures of African-American or black, Asian American, LatinX, and Native American Indian.

Through a variety of course structures, assignments, and activities, I bring diverse experiences into the classroom and into students’ lives outside of the classroom. Examples include having a co-instructor of color who is a practicing counselor and book club experiences that enable students, in small groups, to dive into the literary experiences of people different from themselves.

Participants of this session will leave with insights into teaching strategies, both conceptual and concrete, to bring home and adapt to their own settings.

Evidence

Research exists related to all three of (1) cross-cultural counseling, (2) teaching cross-cultural counseling, and (3) White instructors teaching cross-cultural counseling. My current understanding of cross-cultural counseling is particularly rooted in a decolonizing awareness, as detailed in, for example, Goodman, R. D., & Gorski, P. C. (eds.; 2015). Decolonizing “multicultural” counseling through social justice. New York: Springer. Recent articles informing my teaching include Yeung, J. G., Spanierman, L. B., & Landrum-Brown, J. (2013). “Being White in a multicultural society”: Critical whiteness pedagogy in a dialogue course. Journal Of Diversity In Higher Education, 6(1), 17-32, which clarified for me critical whiteness studies; Quaye, S. J. (2012). White educators facilitating discussions about racial realities. Equity & Excellence In Education, 45(1), 100-119, which confirmed my role and responsibilities as a White educator teaching about race; and Coleman, M. N. (2006). Critical incidents in multicultural training: An examination of student experiences. Journal Of Multicultural Counseling And Development, 34(3), 168-182 and Collins, N. M., & Pieterse, A. L. (2007). Critical Incident Analysis Based Training: An Approach for Developing Active Racial/Cultural Awareness. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 85(1), 14-23, which highlighted for me which processes and experiences are most helpful and instructive in teaching cross-cultural counseling.

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

I (Lisen C. Roberts, Ph.D.) am an associate professor in and program director for the CACREP-accredited graduate counseling program at Western Carolina University. Among other courses, I enjoy teaching cross-cultural counseling.

Location

Room 217

Start Date

2-17-2017 2:30 PM

End Date

2-17-2017 3:45 PM

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Feb 17th, 2:30 PM Feb 17th, 3:45 PM

How does a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle-class faculty member teach diversity?

Room 217

This interactive session will describe how one majority-culture faculty member teaches a cross-cultural counseling graduate course. The presenter will share concrete course structure, tone, activities, and processes as well as student reactions to the course. Participants are encouraged to bring and share their own strategies and experiences with teaching diversity.