Difficult Discussions in the Classroom

  • Maggie LaWare (Iowa State University)


In this symposium, two faculty members, Prof. Loreto Prieto (Psychology) and Prof. Margaret LaWare (English) will share information about how to discuss difficult issues related to race and ethnicity in the classroom. Difficult Dialogues: Ideas for Productive Outcomes: Dr. Prieto: When faculty, students and others involved in pedagogy encounter discussions involving cultural diversity, many feel lost and unsure how to proceed. Many, in an effort to ensure non-offensiveness, remain silent and forego opportunities to educate or enlighten students and colleagues via undertaking important, in depth conversations surrounding issues of cultural diversity. In this presentation, I will outline both personal factors and discussion-based guidelines that can help us to navigate diffi cult dialogues concerning cultural diversity. These ideas include awareness of our own cultural identities, cultural privileges, cultural biases, and understanding our stimulus value.

United to End Racism Co-Counseling: Dr. LaWare: In my section of the program, I will share the process of United to End Racism co-counseling, which principally involves two people agreeing to share an equal amount of time listening to each other, one person serving as the listener while the other person tells their story, and then switching roles at the end of an allotted amount of time. I will guide the audience through this process. The understanding is that when we get to tell our stories with deep listening and get to really feel the feelings associated with those stories such as grief, terror, sadness, we will be able to get out from under some of the fear and embarrassment that holds us back from thinking well about others, feeling more comfortable about approaching people from different racial and cultural backgrounds, and getting a better understanding about how we can end racism. It is a useful tool for the classroom because it gives everyone an opportunity to tell their story and to listen to stories.



Published on
02 Mar 2016
Peer Reviewed