Culturally Diverse Classrooms (Liveblog)

Today, we welcome Dr. Nancy Ramsay (Brite Divinity School) and Dr. Frank Yamada (McCormick Theological Seminary) to host “a faculty workshop on understanding power dimensions in culturally diverse classrooms.”

Should the format afford me opportunity, I’ll try to live blog here from time to time during the day.

[I should have added that the event is organized by Dr. Gennifer Brooks, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.]

Overall: A really good day. Lots to simmer on while walking to and from the train this week.

3:00: When we ask students to put themselves at risk by self-contextualizing and making contextual claims, we want to be prepared to sometimes lead them in “taking a step back”: pulling back to a relatively safe analytical stance.

2:20: “Over time, it becomes less about ‘How can we be multicultural?’ and more about ‘How do we negotiate the multiform culture we comprise?’”

1:30: What does an incoming student “look” like? What does a graduating student “look” like?

1:10: Hard to sum up the things that came out of break-out groups and lunch discussion, except that I really do work with some incredibly smart and reflective educators.

10:55: Given the desirability of at least limited permeability (to define institution), how can that permeability be defined in ways that yet fully promote diversity?

10:20: I have habitually tended to privilege bottom-up construction of systems and of changes to systems, but I find myself persuaded concerning the importance of cultivating “key (powerful) constituencies” in an institution as prerequisite for an organized, team effort toward change.

9:52: Mental tangent: when we talk about a focus on better accomplishing educational mission by improving our own institutional integrity, I keep being reminded of the role of the five tenets of Taikwon-Do in the practice of that art: you become better at the external goal (doing something) by improving your self (becoming something).

9:50: Identifying practices that imagine power as “a scarce commodity,” and those that imagine power as “integrative or expansive.”

9:45: An institution might have a track record and articulate goals regarding diversity and progressive inclusiveness, but could yet be looking for “ways of keeping that in remembrance.”

9:35: Questions around how rooting out systemic oppression and exclusiveness benefits those of the dominant (white, or male, or hetero) group. Responses involve individual benefit and sharing in collective benefit.

9:17: “The work in the classroom will not flourish if there is not concurrent institutional change.” I like starting here: it defuses any individual defensiveness about current practice and results.

9:10: The first half of the day looks to be titled, “Institutional Power and Privilege.”

[Culturally Diverse Classrooms (Liveblog) was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/MONTH/DATE. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

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2 Responses

  1. I had a meeting with Dr. Yamada last spring and suspect he would be extremely knowledgeable. His delivery would be engaging and I would look forward to this event. Also, if you listen closely, his accent is pure SoCal. 😉

  2. Vayhi, absolutely! Pure So Cal!

    Thanks for the liveblog Brooke. It would have been a hard conversation to track. It got pretty engaging there for a bit, esp. for a late afternoon session after Panera cookies.

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