Pedagogy for Embracing Diversity and Challenging Ethnocentric Identity Investment: Strategies for Challenging Cultural Biases

By Sandra Hellyer-Riggs and Larry Riggs.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 26, 2014 $US5.00

Research on critical thinking, transformative learning, and diversity pedagogy emphasizes that embracing true diversity is hindered by investment of identity in culturally normative biases. Particularly useful studies are Scriven and Paul (1987), Elder and Paul (2009), and McPeck (1994). We designed and implemented pedagogy for challenging students’ biases in two different disciplinary and institutional contexts: a psychology course at a large, public university, and a core curriculum course at a small, private university. In discussions and reflection essays, students confronted information and issues challenging their perspectives. In research papers, students developed criterial for making judgments and sought information relevant to those criteria. Most students acknowledged greater appreciation of the value of diverse perspectives. Most could articulate an account of the process whereby their thinking had been challenged and enriched. Challenging students’ culturally conditioned assumptions and making them aware of the costs—to them and to others—of egocentric and ethnocentric/sociocentric thinking is necessary foundational work in the process of teaching for embracing diversity. Further research and expanded pedagogical strategies will be fruitful in this area.

Keywords: Cultural Biases, Identity Investment, Ethnocentric/sociocentric Thinking

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 14, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.31-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 150.279KB)).

Dr. Sandra Hellyer-Riggs

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology and Psychology, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Dr. Larry Riggs

Professor of French, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA