Social Psychology/Intergroup Relations
Facilitator training in diverse, progressive, residential communities: Occidental College as a case study
This chapter explores the multi-stage pedagogy used to educate peer facilitators at Occidental College. We begin by describing the structure of coursework associated with Occidental’s Dialogue program, including course sequence, content, recruitment, and class composition goals. We then examine and analyze how we link reflective learning to low and high risk experiential activities, explicitly addressing the challenges associated with sustained engagement of students who enter with distinct knowledge of and experience with group identity, inequality, and collaboration. Finally, we share a developmental model of constructive co-facilitation relationships that spans the co-facilitation semester. Each of these chapter sections draw on participants’ own words to illustrate how our pedagogical issues and outcomes relate to high and low status group membership. We end by identifying some of the challenges that accompany support for transformative intellectual spaces in higher education and in the country.
Rodriguez, J., Rodriguez-Scheel, A.C., Lindsey, S., & Kirkland, A. (2011). In K.E. Maxwell, B. Nagda, & M.C. Thompson (Eds.) Facilitating intergroup dialogues: Bridging differences, catalyzing change (pp. 55-70). Sterling, VA: Stylus
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
Transformational Resistance in Intergroup Dialogue: Creating the Foundation for Social Action Among Students of Color
Kenjus Watson, Jaclyn Rodriguez, Claudia Ortega
UCLA School of Education
Drawing upon Critical Race Theory (CRT) this study examines the impact of experiential learning in Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) on racial identification, group consciousness, and transformational resistance among students of color. Our focus on students of color is consistent with Critical Race Theory (CRT), a framework that centers race, racism, experiential knowledge, and social justice. Like other libratory frameworks, CRT is most effective when it sparks simultaneous reflection on theory and action on behalf of social transformation (Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, and Crenshaw, 1993). As an academic course whose goals and vision align well with CRT, Intergroup Dialogue may be one avenue through which praxis for racial justice thrives (Nagda & Gurin, 2007). We assess the potential of Intergroup Dialogue to prepare students of color to engage authentically in Transformational Resistance (TR), social action undertaken by People of Color who are conscious of structural oppression and committed to social justice (Covarrubias and Revilla, 2003; Delgado-Bernal, 1997). Transformational resistance, be it external or internal, requires a conscious desire to transform rather than reproduce inequality. We believe that the experiential curriculum in Race/Ethnicity Intergroup Dialogues – “testimonials,” “caucus groups/fishbowls,” “web of privilege & oppression,” institutional “hot topics,” and “cycle of liberation” – offers participants counter-spaces (Yosso, 2006) in which the implications of identity, group membership, and power and privilege can be addressed and critiqued, ultimately, preparing participants for a more refined understanding of social action. We explored whether IGD participants of color reported greater insight into transformative resistance as evidenced in reflective papers.
Inductive analysis was utilized to code five-minute reflection papers generated by dialogue participants from a West coast liberal arts college. The reflection papers were completed immediately following each of five active learning exercises throughout the course. Thematic open coding analysis was utilized, and focal students emerged out of this coding to demonstrate themes central to transformational resistance. Critical race-grounded methodology was utilized to inform our thematic coding procedure (Malagon, Perez Huber, & Velez, 2009). Emerging from Glaser and Strauss’ work, this methodology is committed to exploring “structural processes of domination” (p. 264), and “[illuminates] the patterns of racialized inequality by recounting experiences of racism, both individual and shared, in order to reveal multiple perspectives that have long been silenced” (as cited in Malagon, Perez Huber, & Velez, 2009, p. 267).
The content analysis of student reflections revealed greater support for internal transformative resistance than for external transformative resistance. Participants reported increased connection with and pride in group membership, heightened awareness to multiple identities, crystallized understanding of collusion with and implications of structural power and privilege, and expanded understanding of the nature and consequences of social action for differently positioned group members.
These data shed important light on an under-examined pedagogical tool: reflective analyses of experiential learning for social justice, offer evidence of the effectiveness of a peer-led course to nurture social consciousness and informed resistance among members of marginalized racial groups, and they highlight the complexities inherent in social action among students of color.
Applying Dialogic Knowledge: Awareness and Understanding of the Impact of Racial Microaggressions
Mary Senyonga, Andrea Rodriguez-Scheel, Jaclyn Rodriguez
This study examines how two distinct pedagogies that center race – Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) and traditional lecture — inform students’ capacities to recognize and respond transformatively to racial microaggressions. Microaggressions, while subtle and often unconscious, undermine intergroup harmony by minimizing prejudice, encouraging the internalization of negative messages (Ortiz and Jani, 2010), impinging on the emotional stability and self-esteem of people of color (Sue, 2010), and preserving the status quo (Sue, 2010). In addition to documenting the damaging effects of racial microaggressions on People of Color, Education researchers and Critical Race theorists have called for an examination of effective individual and collective responses to the problem (Solorzano, 1998; Solorzano & Delgado Bernal, 2000, Sue, 2010).
Scholarship in Psychology has confirmed the impact of intergroup relations curricula and programs on participants’ critical consciousness and intergroup empathy (Nagda & Gurin, 2007; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008; Stephan & Findley, 1999), outcomes that may increase participants’ awareness and understanding of and responses to racial microaggressions. IGD, in particular, has been shown to nurture students’ empathy (Sorensen, Nagda, Gurin, & Maxwell, 2009), foster a more sophisticated understanding of intergroup relations, and motivate constructive relationships between social groups (Rodriguez, Gurin & Sorensen, 2011). This study draws on Education, CRT and Psychology to explore whether IGD provides participants with a uniquely transferable set of skills that facilitate identification of and dialogic responses to racial microaggressions.
Participants included undergraduate students who had completed either an IGD or a social science lecture course with a focus on Race/Ethnicity. Participants were asked to read and respond to four vignettes, each of which depicted a specific microaggression form (Sue, 2010). All participants were asked whether the target of the microaggression should or should not take action in response to the incident described. Thematic open coding was used to code two open- ended questions that followed either response to the action inquiry: 1) Why should __X__ take this course of action? 2) What do you think __X__ was thinking and feeling after the interaction?
Content analysis of student reflections revealed that IGD participants were more likely than lecture course participants to name race as a basis for the negative interaction, identify a more complex blend of positive and negative emotions as part of the interaction, note the lingering effects of racial encounters, and frame social action in dialogic terms (an obligation to interrupt oppression and to educate) as well as individual terms (to alleviate personal pain).
This research contributes to emerging scholarship in three ways. First, it demonstrates the promise of pedagogies that deepen awareness of and challenge contemporary forms of discrimination. Second, it explicitly addresses and extends Sue’s (2010) suggestions for eliminating microaggressions by adding an action component – the ability to engage in dialogue with others as means of abolishing microaggressions. Finally, it draws on interdisciplinary scholarship to present an institutional response to new and understudied form of discrimination.
- Director: Dr. Jaclyn Rodríguez Swan 337 (323) 259-2747 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assistant Director: Kenjus Watson, M.Ed. Swan 332 (323)259-4687 email@example.com
- Social Psych Lab: Swan B203 (323)341-4887 firstname.lastname@example.org
- FAX: 323-341-4887