“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TEACH DIVERSITY”. Materials used at Minnesota State University, Mankato for Diversity Workshops and Presentations. Defining Diversity at MSU. How do you define “diversity”? Why should we care?. Diversity at MSU….
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“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TEACH DIVERSITY” Materials used at Minnesota State University, Mankato for Diversity Workshops and Presentations
Defining Diversity at MSU How do you define “diversity”? Why should we care?
Diversity at MSU… is a commitment to creating an understanding of diverse peoples and diverse perspectives; a commitment to create an academic, cultural, and workplace environment, and community that develops mutual respect for all and celebrates our differences.
MSU Diversity Plan Addresses three areas: • Pluralistic Academic Community • Student Learning Environment • Engaged Campus www.mnsu.edu/president/priorities/diversity/diversityplan
What Do Our Students Expect? To have serious conversations with other students who are different from themselves • Race or ethnicity • Religious beliefs • Values • Lifestyles From the National Survey of Student Engagement, conducted at MSU Spring 2003
What Our Students Experience • 66% never or only occasionally talk with someone who has a different lifestyle • 67% never or only occasionally talk with someone who has different values • 68% never or only occasionally talk with someone of a different religion • 37% never talk with someone of a different race; 40% only occasionally From the National Survey of Student Engagement, conducted at MSU Spring 2003
What Our Students Experience A lack of diverse perspectives in class • Different races and ethnicities • Different religions • Different genders • Different political beliefs From the National Survey of Student Engagement, conducted at MSU Spring 2003
What Can We Do to Teach Diversity? Ideas for the classroom
Increase Group Dynamics • For group work, even if students choose their own team members, insist that the group composition be as diverse as possible with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or major.
Interact Consistently • Pay attention to how you address different groups of students. • Do you refer to all students in the same way? • Do you address men and women differently? (e.g., as “men” and “girls”)? • Strive for consistency in the way you address each person in the class. • Although referring to all students as “guys” is consistent we should be better role models for our students.
Create Fair Discussions • Monitor questions and comments from the class to ensure that one group’s opinions are not over-represented. • If people from some groups (race, gender, ethnicity, major) are not volunteering information, ask for their opinion.*
Involve All Students • Use a random system for asking general questions or soliciting class participation so that every student has the same chance of participating. • In extreme cases try the “poker chip” technique.
Model Respect • When students are speaking to each other, monitor the discussion to ensure that students show consideration and respect for one another. • Allow opportunities for all students to participate and intervene if a student is dominating the discussion.
Diffuse Tension • If a difficult classroom situation arises based on diversity issues, ask for a time out while students write down their thoughts or opinions about the incident. • This technique allows everyone to cool down and gives the instructor time to collect his or her thoughts and plan a response.
Support Diversity • Include a statement in your syllabus about the need to encourage and respect diversity in the classroom. • Including the University’s Diversity Statement demonstrates your support of campus initiatives.
Avoid Sexist Language • Make your syllabus gender neutral or gender inclusive.
Evaluate Textbook Diversity • When selecting textbooks, look for gender neutral or gender inclusive terms. • If the book includes graphics, make sure diverse people are represented (gender, race, ethnicity, ability, age, class).
Select Diverse Case Studies • Select cases which involve diverse populations, female decision makers, or decision makers with diverse surnames. • Use cases which are set in other countries, or which involve problems of international or multi-cultural constituencies.
Encourage “Mixers” • Ask students to sit in a different seat every class meeting. • Encourage students to sit next to someone they don’t know, and allow a couple of minutes at the start of some classes for students to introduce themselves to others. • In smaller classes, construct name “tents” and place them in different places before class.
Use Informal Assessment • At various points in the term, ask students to provide feedback, especially about their level of comfort in asking and answering questions or asking for help. • You may uncover problems or discover solutions that could be overlooked.
Emphasize Workplace Diversity • Where appropriate, use the lecture materials (or text) to show how your field has become more diverse. • Discuss how the changing population has affected the field. • How is your field adapting to global changes?
Invite Guest Speakers • Invite guest speakers to your class who represent diversity in gender, race, ability, or ethnicity, even if the topic itself does not deal with multi-cultural or diversity issues. • Avoid “Cultural Tourism”
Announce Diversity Events • If you normally make announcements in class about student organization meetings or events, include announcements about multi-cultural events such as Cinco de Mayo, International Festival, Special Olympics, Get Out the Vote, and many, many others.
Invite Student Announcements • Allow students to make brief announcements about their student organization’s activities in class.
Deal with Offensive Behavior • If a student makes a blatantly offensive remark, ask the student to re-phrase the question/comment to express the idea without offending other members of the class. • Stress that while each person has a right to his or her opinion, offensive statements are inappropriate in a college classroom environment and the workplace.
Be Courteous • Allow a student to completely finish before responding to a comment. • Research suggests that college faculty often talk over women or international students, or answer before the question is complete. • Insist that students also allow each other to complete statements before responding.
Ensure Group Participation • If students make group presentations, require every member of the team to have a speaking part. • Women and international students sometimes are not given speaking parts otherwise.
Encourage Leadership • If groups work on more than one task, use a rotating leader system. Each group member must take a leadership role on one task or on a major part of a task. • This approach allows all group members the chance to learn leadership and organizational skills.
Encourage Questions • If you use mainly lectures or if students are hesitant to ask questions, allow students to write questions at the end of class and turn in—they can be answered at the next class.
A Final Quote “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Thurgood Marshall