Reflection Questions for Students During DIER

To Social Justice Committee: Please record below questions you'd suggest to guide students' observations, experiences and reflections during their Diversity Immersion Experience. Thanks!

DIER questions

  1. I can't think of how to word it, but I think we should start with a question that has them describe and reflect on their own culture and background. If our intent is to have them enagage in perspective transformation -- or seeing things from multiple perspectives, then it seems that they should first identify what their own perspective is that they bring before they start out on their DIER. It might be helpful to have them read some things to help them in this (don't know what, off the top of my head) (HMR)
  2. (NH) Helen, I agree that it is important to start with self reflection--reflecting on our own culture and how it impacts the way we think and behave is the foundation for learning about other cultures-I use a cultural awareness activity (questions/reflection) with my Human Diversity students that might be useful here (in fact, I might have adapted this from one of your handouts, Helen!). Here are some of the questions...

  • Who are you? (I ask them to write a brief poem about themselves-I have a neat example that I share because I don't want poems that begin with "I am a cool dude...."!!)
  • What does diversity mean to you?
  • What is your ethnic/racial identity? Are you clear about it? Why or why not?
  • Who or what were the most significant influences in the establishment of your racial/ethnic identity?
  • How were people who were different from you viewed by your family? How were they treated? What messages did you get from family, friends, school, coworkers, community etc about people who were different from you?
  • What experiences have you had with people who you perceive as different from you? How have your experiences influenced the ways in which you view, and/or have interacted with, people who are different from you?
  • How did you feel as you answered these questions?

As for the readings, maybe Peggy McIntosh's article on white privilege? Short, easy to read, yet powerful. An additional reading might be helpful as a follow up, since some students are kind of shaken up by what she says...I have some ideas for these too but have to dig them up.

Should I copy the article for everyone?

3) I really like what Helen and Nedra have above. I read the questions above "pre" questions for teacher-candidates to reflect upon. I think it would be great to tweak them a little for "during" questions and finally for "post" questions. The questions should remain very similar. Then as a final reflection teacher-candidates should comment to how they've changed or not changed through the experience. I'm sure for some of our teacher-candidates the DIER experience can reinforce stereotypes, with the similar questioning throughout they will be forced to justify their answers!

Readings: Sonia Nieto also has some powerful articles about diversity and privilege. (JT)

Hey, it is Jackie :)
I think we have a good set of questions to work with. We will have to figure out a way of framing them such that the students don't go on the defensive in answering them in the pre-, but make them think and be open to what these experiences will offer them. Also, we will need to figure out a way of having them answer to the post in a manner that will make them think deeply about the experiences, rather then respond, "I really learned a lot from this experience." Does this make sense?

Links to other DIER pages