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Sense and Sensitivity

Difference and Diversity in Higher Education Classrooms


Edited By Elisabeth Lillie

This edited volume examines aspects of teaching and learning in situations where community or ethnic division may impact negatively on classroom experience and behaviour in tertiary education. The book considers cases from four locations where marked divisions in the wider society exert a continuing influence on the student body: Northern Ireland, England, France and the United States of America. All of these countries share certain underlying principles of governance and freedom as well as historical interconnections, but have within them particular groups characterized by various levels of separation and distrust. The sociohistorical context relevant to each case is outlined, followed by a discussion of the attitudes, opinions and reactions of the learners concerned. The volume concludes with a consideration of pedagogical approaches that may help to bridge difference and foster a more positive atmosphere. Although this study focuses on particular community environments, the techniques highlighted by contributors may be useful in any classroom setting where a heterogeneous mix of individuals has the potential to lead to dissension and conflict.


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Acknowledgements ix Elisabeth Lillie Introduction 1 Part I Northern Ireland 7 Seamus Dunn and Valerie Morgan 1 Ulster and the Legacy of Divided Schooling 9 Elisabeth Lillie 2 Students in Class: Division and Interaction 29 Part II England 53 Gill Cressey 3 White Elephant: ‘Race’ in Higher Education Social Sciences Classrooms in the West Midlands of England 55 Part III France 87 Elisabeth Lillie 4 Voices from the Multi-ethnic University in France 89 viii Part IV United States of America 125 Elisabeth Lillie 5 Unequal Beginnings: Minority Access to Higher Education in the Land of the American Dream 127 Terrell L. Strayhorn and J. Terrell Lockett 6 Discussing Race Matters in the College Classroom 165 Part V Teaching and Learning Approaches 183 Marty Meinardi and Sue Norton 7 The United Colours of Etiquette: Interculturality in the Higher Education Classroom 185 Elisabeth Lillie 8 Teaching Across Diversity: Creating Inclusion, Overcoming Division 211 Notes on Contributors 239 Index 241

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