DEMONSTRATIONS, CLASS ACTIVITIES, IDEAS

Ethnobiographies.

These are described fully under assignments. They are a class activity because students become sensitized to the way a range of families respond to humor, holidays, relatives, and a host of other family activities that we often don't see in our own experiences. You will find that these activities are referred to on a regular basis during later class discussions.

Bonsai

This is a card game where no one knows the rules. You can easily use your imagination to realize what occurs when rules are disregarded by others, when what you know is not the way it is, and when other players seem equally sure of themselves. Having a partner helps!

I do not know whether this is copywrighted. I learned how to play at a Teaching of Psychology of Women pre-conference workshop of APA. It was taught by Pam Reid. I would be glad to share how to play on an individual level.

The game exposes a variety of emotion, gamesmanship, and ways if interacting with others. I have used it every year that I have taught the Diversity course as an important groundbreaker.

Bias-Free Communications

I have developed a lecture/discussion based on a handout from the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Office of University Relations, June, 1991. It features examples of biased communications and means to be more inclusive. It includes recommendations for gender, age, and race and ethnicity. This simple handout allows students to examine their own usage while learning why certain usages are more acceptable than others. This also offers a jumping-off point for a lively discussion of politically correct language and why there are attacks on sensitive language.

Gender Identification Values

An exercise from Janet Hyde's Teaching Manual that accompanies her text, Half the Human Experience, requires the instructor to read aloud descriptions of 7 types of women. Students are asked to rank order the descriptions from most to least admired. The students then form groups with those who agree with their number one ranking to discuss why they ranked as they did. Each group then presents its position to the other students. Debate follows. If there is sufficient time, students may regroup by who they least admired, and follow the same procedure as above. In her manual, Janet desribes the evaluation of values that ensues these discussions.

I have rewritten the descriptions to classify types of men. I have used this with a professional audience and the vast majority prefer Sean Sensitive, the feminist. Students often prefer the family man. I will forward these to you upon request.

Where do I stand?

I learned this exercise at a conference at the University of Chicago on multi-culturalism, but I do not know to whom the credit belongs. First, request students to rank themselves on a continuum of monocultural to multicultural experiences in the following life experiences.

pre-school _____________________________________________________

elementary school________________________________________________

neighborhood___________________________________________________

summer camps__________________________________________________

middle school __________________________________________________

first job(s) _____________________________________________________

high school _____________________________________________________

college ________________________________________________________

current residence ________________________________________________

current job _____________________________________________________

Of course, these can be modified to suit the audience. It is good to examine whether students have had many or few multi-cultural experiences. Some of my students remark that college has been the least multi-cultural experience they have had. A good question, then, is why did they choose the university they did?

Also asking students whether they are satisfied with the experience they have had can generate good discussion.

Who Am I?

I also learned this exercise at a conference at the University of Chicago on multi-culturalism, but I do not know to whom the credit belongs.

I have students generate what aspects of our culture help to define who we are. Eventually our list includes Sex/Gender, Age, Sexual Orientation, Language, Rural/Suburban/Urban, Region, Exceptionality, Religion, Social Class, Ethnicity or Nationality, and Race.

I tell students that all of these things do not have to matter to them individually as they contemplate their own personal cultural influence. I then ask them to individually draw a pie chart of those things that do matter to them.

Several good points can be made with this.

1. Two students may choose identical influences, yet weight them quite differently, making two very different types of people,

2. Just because something is not important to you does not mean that it is not important to others.

3. Those in the minority usually find that status much more important thant those in the majority. For example, males do not find sex, gender, to be as important as females do.

4. Our perceptions are heavily influenced by our personal cultures.

Concentric Circle Exercise

This exercise belongs to David Schoem, at the Unversity of Michigan, which he demonstrated at an AACU conference in Ann Arbor, in 1997. He has written a book that includes a number of exercise to reduce conflict. The Concentric Circle Exercise is one where two groups sit facing each other. The first question is answered, let us say, by the inside group. The question is something along the lines of, "Talk about a time you felt different from the people around you. How did you feel about it?" After the inside person responds, then the outside person responds. The outside person then moves to her/his left, and the same question is discussed. There are no interruptions - these are monologues. Other questions may be substituted or used later. These might be, "When did you learn what it meant to be a member of your racial group?" "What were your first experiences of gender?" "Describe a time when you were stereotyped or discriminated against.""What are you doing to challenge racism, sexism, and homophobia?"

These questions come from a handout that Schoem provided.

Schoem has two relevant texts:

Schoem, D. L. (Ed) Multicultural Teaching in the University, Praeger Press.

Schoem, D. L. (Ed) Inside Separate Worlds, University of Michigan Press

 

Guests

I have invited to my class, the Director of Minority Affairs, the Director of Academic Skills for Athletes, a member of the Counseling Center staff, professors from other universities who teach diversity material, and an associate chaplin who has been heavily involved in diversity with his church and community.

Music

While I have not used music in this class, I see no reason why it would not be appropriate. I think that we often are not exposed to music "outside" of our cultures. Providing that exposure can only be enriching.

Computer Searches

My class is one that occurs early in the curriculum so I believe that it is essential that students become more skilled in electronic library searches. Fortunately, we have librarians who are eager to teach students how to search effectively. I schedule such a class very early in the semester so that students can begin thinking about their writing assignments. Many classes are offered on use of the net, power point presentations, etc.

I would be glad to welcome any additional class activites that you have used and found successful.

 

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