This case study details the classroom dynamics of a Race and Ethnicity course and how to create a comfortable and engaging environment. To determine what students believe leads to a productive dialogue, two colleagues at a small liberal arts college in Maryland used in-depth interview data from ten students to identify four key pedagogical techniques. These strategies were the basis for teaching a group that includes students who are resistant to the existence and implications of white privilege. The data revealed that students want to feel like they are being educated, and not directed. Students’ desire to give input can be inhibited by instructors that have already decided the direction of the class, which deprives students of the chance to shape the conversation, feel engaged, confident, and empowered. Navigating and participating in a conversation about race is an important skill that is also an antidote to the dearth of productive dialogue in this arena. Students appreciate the ability to draw their own conclusions and to hone their critical thinking skills.
Smith, Richard M. and Dundes, Lauren
"Reticent on Race: Promoting Constructive Discussions about Race in a College Classroom,"
Race and Pedagogy Journal: Teaching and Learning for Justice:
3, Article 2.
Available at: http://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/rpj/vol1/iss3/2