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Teaching on ‘race’ and ethnicity: problems and potentialities related to ‘positionality’ in reflexive and experiential approaches to teaching and learning

Klesse, Christian (2010) Teaching on ‘race’ and ethnicity: problems and potentialities related to ‘positionality’ in reflexive and experiential approaches to teaching and learning. ISSN 1756-848X (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This article deals with the difficulties of teaching critically around ‘race’/ethnicity and racism in higher education settings in the UK. The author draws on recent literature and his own teaching experience in order to address the manifold problems related to open classroom discussions about ‘race’/ethnicity and racism. Attempts to create a safe and critical learning environment based on open dialogue are fraught with difficulties, which stem from the pervasive nature of racism and its impact on many students’ and teachers’ experiences. The author suggests that an open and critical acknowledgment of students’ and teachers’ differential positionality is an important aspect of experiential and reflective learning strategies in the field. It also appears necessary to critically engage with the privileges and power dynamics around ‘whiteness’.

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