Conceptualizing Diversity in Applied Learning
I tell my students I am going to engage them in discussions, exercises, and fieldwork practices of things I wish I had experienced in the classroom—rather than as a working journalist in the field, on deadline, without guidance, and without anyone with whom I could discuss ideas and concerns. As a journalist, I often covered underrepresented communities in which I had to learn to communicate in different ways, check my assumptions at the door, discern values, and earn the trust of people whose lived experience was different than mine. To ask the right questions, to step with both feet into different environments, to convey others' perspectives accurately, and to broaden coverage beyond "official" sources are at the heart of good journalism. They need to be part of a comprehensive journalism education. My goal is not to tell students what to do or think or say in regard to diversity, but how to enter into new experiences and to, as best they can, see issues through other peoples' eyes. In my view, teaching about diversity is not issue-specific or designed to study a different non-dominant "other-of-the-week." People and issues don't fit in tidy categories; and good teaching and good journalism recognize that. In my class, teaching diversity is based on self-examination, mindset, and approach.
Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment
Western Washington University
Nielsen, Carolyn E., "Conceptualizing Diversity in Applied Learning" (2010). Journalism. 14.
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