4 Learning Outcomes for Diversity and Social Justice Education

Just about everyone I know values diversity and wants more inclusion. We want to foster equity and justice in ourselves, in our organizations, and in the learning we are nurturing. However, the details of what that looks like in a developmentally sequenced manner can be mystifying. I’ve worked with dozens of organizations to outline and clarify the learning they are seeking for employees, students, and community members. Each organization thinks about and uses language differently given their particular context, but a few patterns continue to emerge. There tend to be four categories that emerge in my consulting, teaching, student learning work beyond the classroom, and consulting for social justice education.

1. Critical Consciousness

What are my individual and social group identities and how does that affect my experience? What are my own personal biases about others and how can I be prepared to monitor, address, and/or manage these biases? How can I make the unconscious things I have been socialized to believe more conscious so that I can wrestle with them and not be an unwitting puppet to them? What role does shame play in my unwillingness to do so? How can I understand that being more aware of what I have been socialized to believe, no matter how embarrassing and shameful those beliefs are, is liberating not just for the oppressed but also for the privileged?

AKA: Identity, Self-awareness, etc.

2. Cultural Competence

How can I demonstrate cultural competency by being cognizant of cultural norms, values, communication styles, traditions, etc. for various groups, and recognize how these factors might affect cross-cultural interactions? How can I understand that every interaction with another person is intercultural? This may be due to differences between me and the other person that are invisible to me or perhaps there are things at play for each of us that we are unaware of ourselves.

AKA: Communicating across difference, multicultural competence, cross-cultural competence, intercultural communication, intercultural competence, etc.

3. Privilege and Oppression

How do social systems grant some of us advantages we didn’t earn and don’t deserve and some of us disadvantages we didn’t earn and don’t deserve based on our identities? How do systems of oppression function in society and how is that system maintained and perpetuated? How does this play out on individual, institutional, and societal levels? How does this play out consciously/intentionally and unconsciously/unintentionally?

AKA: Social structures, power, systemic oppression, etc.

4. Social Justice

How can I work systemically to foster more justice and equity? How can I act as an advocate for social justice identifying ways in which I can create change and promote social justice in our communities and the greater society? What roles can I play through our my own actions and encouraging and empowering others in a variety of personal and professional settings? How can I set my own ego aside and work strategically to make change happen most effectively?

AKA: Equity, justice, social change, engagement, leadership for social justice, etc.

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