The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Responding to Racism in a Multicultural Course: Deeply Understanding Human Differences to Develop Cultural Humility

Susan Schaming Schaming, Widener University College of Health & Human Services (United States)


The intersection of culture, beliefs, and values seems to be an antecedent for racism and a multitude of discriminatory incidents today.  The death of George Floyd in 2020 was a defining moment for Black Indigenous People of Color [BIPOC], as well as all Americans; pain and issues of racism were exasperated.  Left unaddressed, the discrimination of marginalized individuals and groups will subsist.  It is vital to support and foster students' awareness, reflection, response, and action.  A Multicultural Issues and Strategies in Human Services and Education course’s existing foci included multicultural education, diversity, and identities as they relate to educational contexts, counseling, social work, professional roles, and student experiences. A combination of theory, research, and practical literature was in place to guide the course content. Yet, Gallardo [2014], challenges us to develop and embrace cultural humility skills and dispositions. Consequently, a cavernous analysis of how racism and marginalization affected teaching, learning, and counseling was central to the challenge.  With a constructive lens, students were encouraged to assume responsibility for the depth of their learning experience and apply knowledge in their clinical, professional, and academic practices.  Although the course emphasized active participation, synthesis, and analysis through discussions and written assignments, as well as collaborative learning groups, the deeper analytical, experiential piece, espoused by Hook, Davis, Owen, and DeBlare [2017], prompted improvement in course design to nurture students’ cultural competence and cultural humility.  The high-impact, multi-layered experiential practices, self-selected assignments, and field-based projects embedded civic engagement and a social justice lens in the course. Succinctly, these changes revealed effective, innovative teaching and learning strategies with high-impact exercises, such as Kim and del Prado’s [2019] imperative for constructive, healing, and courageous conversations.  Correspondingly, it promoted new learning and enhanced student engagement in the course. The co-created rubrics [student & instructor] exhibited meaningful methods for assessing student learning and a better understanding of the desired outcomes.  The shift in curricular design, along with culturally proficient pedagogy in this course served as a springboard for curricular analysis and syllabi decolonization across the program.



Multiculturalism, racism, cultural humility

Gallardo, M.F. [2014]. Developing cultural humility: Embracing race, privilege, and

           power. Washington, DC:  Sage.

Hook, J.N., Davis, D., Owen, J. & DeBlare, C. [2017]. Cultural humility: Engaging

          diverse identities in therapy.  New York, NY: American Psychological


Kim, A.S. & del Prado, A. [2019].  It’s time to talk (and listen): How to have

        constructive conversations about race, class, sexuality, Ability, and

        gender in a polarized world. Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Publications.




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