Students' Thinking Challenged by Engaging Diversity Workshop

03.19.14

Thirteen SUNY Potsdam students recently participated in the Best Practices in Teaching Seminar, "The Luck of the Draw:Playing with the Cards You Are Dealt," sponsored by the College's Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) and the School of Education and Professional Studies.Carol Kissam,professional educator and past director of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at St. Lawrence University, presented the seminar.

Through the activity The Luck of the Draw, Kissam guided participants in gaining an extended understanding of others by experiencing life from another perspective. Playing with the hand they were dealt, student participants assumed new identities, formed small sharing circles, and discussed the differences in gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity/race, class, and physical features as well as how stereotyping and discrimination regarding these differences affect individuals' behavior.In a large group, Ms. Kissam led students in reflecting on their role-playing experience and how this activity could be transferred for use in their classrooms or careers.

Participants commented that the seminar helped them see the importance of recognizing and appreciating other people's differences as well as their similarities. "I think the workshop will make me more mindful.So often, when we think of diversity, we think of race.This workshop explored many different areas of diversity," remarked one participant.

TOC is funded by the NYS Education Department Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs Teacher Development Programs Unit and SUNY Potsdam.For more information about TOC, view our website at http://www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/education/TOC.