Title

Talk! Please stop talking! The challenges of facilitating classroom discussions on taboo topics.

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

This presentation explores students’ reluctance to engage in authentic classroom discussions surrounding multicultural and social justice topics. Based on a combination of the presenters’ research and personal experiences, respectively as student and instructor, positive and negative experiences will be explored. Audience members will exchange ideas and support, as well as to identify ways to deepen student learning through dialogue.

Description

Multicultural courses have become the norm for many colleges, particularly in relation to Education and Counseling programs. Researchers have cited the many struggles facilitators of such courses experience in relation to eliciting meaningful student discussions in the classroom around topics perceived of as taboo (such as issues of race, class, or sexual orientation) (Dunn, Dotson, Ford, & Roberts, 2014; Willow, 2010). Students may avoid meaningful exchanges in an attempt to protect one’s character. Thus, the primary purpose of this presentation is to assist educators in addressing the lack of (or shallow) participation from students regarding social justice and multicultural topics. The goal is to share both student and instructor struggles to engage in meaningful dialogue on ‘hot’ topics. This presentation is premised on a study, with data collected from students in a Whiteness course over a five-year period. Following presentation of this data, along with the presenters’ own perspectives (both from a student and a faculty member perspective), audience members will be engaged in a conversation regarding their own experiences. The ultimate goals include creating a sense of solidarity and support in this difficult work we do, to ultimately help us avoid compassion fatigue/burn out, and to identify as a community a variety of instructional practices that deepen student learning through classroom dialogue.

Evidence

Amos, Y. T. 2010. “They don't want to get it!” Interaction between minority and White pre-service teachers in a multicultural education classroom. Multicultural Education, 17(4), 31-37.

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Consoli, M. L. M., & Marin, P. (2016). Teaching diversity in the graduate classroom: The instructor, the students, the classroom, or all of the above? Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 9(2), 143-157. doi:10.1037/a0039716.

Dunn, A. H., Dotson, E. K., Ford, J. C., & Roberts, M. A. (2014). “You won't believe what they said in class today”: Professors’ reflections on student resistance in multicultural education courses. Multicultural Perspectives, 16, 93-98. doi:10.1080/15210960.2014.899779

Willow, R. A. (2010). Race obsession-avoidance paradox: A model for multicultural training in counselor education. The Journal of Counselor Education and Preparation, 2(1).

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Krista M. Malott, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Counseling at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, where she trains master-level school and mental health counselors. Dr. Malott began her career as a school counselor, working for approximately a decade as a bilingual (Spanish-English) counselor, mainly with first-generation college going students. Over the past 15 years, she has worked clinically across a variety of community settings. Her research focuses on racial and ethnic identity development, Whiteness, multicultural education tactics, and bias reduction. Her publications have appeared in various educational and counseling journals, and her recently published book is entitled, Group activities for Latino/a youth: Strengthening identities and resiliencies through counseling.

Xihlovo Mabunda., is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Masters student at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Originally from South Africa, Ms. Mabunda relocated to the United States four years ago to begin her tertiary education. She attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and graduated in the Spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Art in Psychology. Over the last year, she has worked as an intern with survivors of domestic abuse and the LGBTQ community. Her research interests are focused on antiracism and the experiences of black students in predominantly white institutions.

Location

PARB 227

Start Date

2-8-2019 10:45 AM

End Date

2-8-2019 12:00 PM

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Feb 8th, 10:45 AM Feb 8th, 12:00 PM

Talk! Please stop talking! The challenges of facilitating classroom discussions on taboo topics.

PARB 227

This presentation explores students’ reluctance to engage in authentic classroom discussions surrounding multicultural and social justice topics. Based on a combination of the presenters’ research and personal experiences, respectively as student and instructor, positive and negative experiences will be explored. Audience members will exchange ideas and support, as well as to identify ways to deepen student learning through dialogue.