ERIC Number: ED393818
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov-9
Involving Preservice Teachers in Discussions of Diversity.
Daniel, Patricia L.; Benton, Janet E.
Creating a safe, open environment for discussion is a critical first step in examining topics of diversity. Because public schools may be the only social arena in the United States where different social classes, ethnicities, and genders come together on a regular basis, it is important to involve preservice teachers in discussions involving different perspectives. Three major sources of student resistance to talking and learning about race and racism have been identified by B. D. Tatum: (1) race is considered a taboo topic for discussion, especially in racially mixed settings; (2) many students, regardless of racial-group membership, have been socialized to think of the United States as a just society; and (3) many students, particularly white students, initially deny personal prejudice, recognizing the impact of racism on other people's lives, but failing to acknowledge its impact on their own. The specific experiences of two instructors (the authors) in two different universities are described as examples of ways to incorporate issues of cultural diversity into preservice teachers' learning experiences. Similar strategies appeared to work effectively in both settings, such as techniques to establish the classroom as a safe environment for discussion of sensitive issues and to develop a sense of community among students. Students in the courses reported that openly discussing issues of cultural diversity in a public forum like a university classroom was a new experience. A primary finding was the need to create a safe environment where students can take the risk and break the taboo of silence that insulates topics of cultural diversity because these are not topics that can discussed with strangers. (Contains 11 references.) (ND)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Classroom Techniques, Cultural Pluralism, Education Majors, Educational Environment, Elementary Secondary Education, Group Discussion, Higher Education, Multicultural Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Racial Bias, Racial Relations, Schools of Education, Teaching Methods, Undergraduate Students
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (Biloxi, MS, November 9, 1995).