TEACHING THE DELICATE TOPIC OF MULTICULTURALISM TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS; EXPLORING DIFFICULT ISSUES WITH DIPLOMACY

L.A. Butler

Metropolitan State University of Denver (UNITED STATES)
There are certain topics people are taught to avoid bringing up at the dinner table for fear it will offend or disturb someone. But what if those are the very topics with which you are charged in facilitating discussion? Exploring privilege, race, sexual orientation, sexism, ageism and other topics that are usually avoided can be tricky. This seminar will explore ways to create an atmosphere that is conducive to open discussion and personal exploration of beliefs and judgments held about others. We will discuss the difference between "safe" and "comfortable" in terms of classroom norms, as well as games and activities that may decrease anxiety and stigma around student learning. Attendees will learn ways to incorporate student participation and personal responsibility in their multicultural learning venture. There is a balance between creating an atmosphere of guilt and one of awareness; riding that razor's edge is a delicate task for a instructor of multicultural studies. Participants will leave invigorated to try new techniques and to have those difficult conversations with others more often.