DEMONSTRATIONS, CLASS ACTIVITIES, IDEAS
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.
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
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.
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.
middle school __________________________________________________
first job(s) _____________________________________________________
high school _____________________________________________________
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
These questions come from a handout that Schoem provided.
Schoem has two relevant texts:
Schoem, D. L. (Ed) Multicultural Teaching in the University, Praeger
Schoem, D. L. (Ed) Inside Separate Worlds, University of Michigan
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
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.
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.