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“I Thought I Knew”: Teaching Graduate Students New Ways of Understanding Meanings of Diverse Social Identities

Authors
  • Johnson, Maria S
Publication Date
Apr 17, 2024
Source
DigitalCommons@CalPoly
Keywords
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Abstract

Instructors should not assume that graduate students understand meanings of terms for various social identities. In this article, I highlight a teaching activity I created titled, “What’s in a name?” that requires graduate students to research historical and contemporary uses of various racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality, and immigration terms. The assignment helps graduate students develop inclusive vocabulary and deepen their understanding of their positionality. It also supports braver classroom contexts for students and instructors. The assignment is best facilitated by instructors informed of diverse social identities, open to difficult conversations, and aware of the influence of their own social identities in the classroom space. Thus, in this article, I also explore classroom dynamics and challenges that may emerge when implementing the activity.

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