Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 6:30 PM-7:30 PM
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education
Jessica Kahn, PhD, City University of New York, Brenda Williams-Gray, DSW, Lehman College, CUNY, Bryan Warde, PhD, Lehman College, CUNY and Mayra Juliao-Nunez, PhD, Lehman College, CUNY
Social change can originate in many places, with many people. One such place is the social work classroom. Social work educators expect our students to become effective change agents. But, how do they get there? And what do they face along the way? One reality social work students and educators face is omnipresent racism. Race and racism are deeply embedded in U.S. society and its institutions, including systems of education (DePouw, 2016). While the ability to respond to issues of race and racism is an essential social work skill, there is limited literature on how to transmit this vital knowledge to social work students (Fisher, Moore, Simmons, & Allen, 2017, p. 346). Some recent literature has addressed pedagogical strategies for intervening in and teaching about microaggressions as well as experiences of students and instructors. However, given the importance of these topics for the social work profession and the need for practical application of research findings and theoretical suggestions into classroom settings, more remains to be done. While instructors may want to facilitate discussions about race, racism, and micro-aggressions, teaching about these subjects can be difficult, producing anger, hostility, anxiety, discomfort, and painful experiences for all (Fisher, Moore, Simmons, & Allen, 2017, p. 349). Poorly handled discussions can result in disastrous consequences (Sue & Constantine, 2007, p. 136). Social work instructors must get this right, and to get this right, we must understand our core constituents our students. By understanding students experiences, as described by the students themselves, we hope to develop and promote ways to make social work education an effective instrument of social change. We can start this social change in our own classrooms. Doing so is vital to preparing future social workers to address critical issues related to racism, micro-aggressions, and the experiences they and their clients face as they navigate social service agencies and the larger world. Together, this roundtable discussion of racism and micro-aggressions in social work education will inform instructors across social work education who struggle with how to deal with discussions of racism and micro-aggressions and with studentslived experiences. However, together, we can devise more effective ways to support students as they develop self-awareness and fight for social justice. Social work instructors can help students as they learn more about themselves, their clients lives, the social work profession, and how racism affects every aspect of society at large. Participants in the roundtable will discuss a variety of topics, such as confronting micro-aggressions in classrooms, how to handle discussion of race and racism effectively, students struggles around these issues, and how racism informs students development into change agents, among others. We aim for the roundtable to be a productive venue for instructors to share pedagogical strategies and gain support for facilitating difficult conversations. Students are encouraged to attend to share about their experiences and suggestions for improving instruction and the classroom climate.
See more of: Roundtables