Project Title

A "Mindful" Approach to Multicultural Education

Academic department under which the project should be listed

Psychology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Tracie L. Stewart

Additional Faculty

Dr. Katherine R. G. White, Psychology, kwhit162@kennesaw.edu

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Intergroup bias and inequality are systemic issues with often-tragic consequences for individuals, social groups, and society as a whole. One way to address inequality is through multicultural education. However, students often regard these courses as challenging and may question their ability to meet this challenge. According to prior research, multicultural and diversity courses can improve intergroup relations; however, students may sometimes resist learning and responding to information in these courses and may report negative views of instructors teaching them. In the present research, we proposed that a “mindful” teaching approach can provide students with the resources needed to feel they can rise to the challenges and opportunities provided by multicultural courses. In fact, consistent with prior research, we predicted that multicultural courses taught with a mindful teaching style would lead to particularly positive responses to both course content and instructors, given that they offer both high challenge and high ability to meet that challenge.

We tested our predictions by inviting participants to read and answer questions about one of eight randomly-assigned fictional transcripts of the first day of a psychology course. The transcripts varied in course/content (Multicultural Psychology or Cognitive Science); instructor race (Black or White) and instructor teaching style (Mindful or Mindless). We hypothesized a main effect of mindful teaching style yielding more positive responses to courses and instructors overall. We further predicted that multicultural classes taught mindfully would receive the most positive responses and multicultural classes taught mindlessly would receive the least positive responses, with Cognitive Science evaluations falling in the middle.

If our hypotheses are supported, this research would contribute to understanding how the important topic of multicultural education can be taught in a way that enables students to get the most out of the courses, while enabling instructors to teach these courses without penalty.

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A "Mindful" Approach to Multicultural Education

Intergroup bias and inequality are systemic issues with often-tragic consequences for individuals, social groups, and society as a whole. One way to address inequality is through multicultural education. However, students often regard these courses as challenging and may question their ability to meet this challenge. According to prior research, multicultural and diversity courses can improve intergroup relations; however, students may sometimes resist learning and responding to information in these courses and may report negative views of instructors teaching them. In the present research, we proposed that a “mindful” teaching approach can provide students with the resources needed to feel they can rise to the challenges and opportunities provided by multicultural courses. In fact, consistent with prior research, we predicted that multicultural courses taught with a mindful teaching style would lead to particularly positive responses to both course content and instructors, given that they offer both high challenge and high ability to meet that challenge.

We tested our predictions by inviting participants to read and answer questions about one of eight randomly-assigned fictional transcripts of the first day of a psychology course. The transcripts varied in course/content (Multicultural Psychology or Cognitive Science); instructor race (Black or White) and instructor teaching style (Mindful or Mindless). We hypothesized a main effect of mindful teaching style yielding more positive responses to courses and instructors overall. We further predicted that multicultural classes taught mindfully would receive the most positive responses and multicultural classes taught mindlessly would receive the least positive responses, with Cognitive Science evaluations falling in the middle.

If our hypotheses are supported, this research would contribute to understanding how the important topic of multicultural education can be taught in a way that enables students to get the most out of the courses, while enabling instructors to teach these courses without penalty.