Why Is It So Hard to Talk About Difficult Topics, Such as Race and How Can We Get Better at It?

In today's diverse and global society, one of the most important skills for educators to develop is talking about and facilitating dialogues about topics that are difficult, such as racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege. Learning how to participate in these dialogues as well as facilitate them is important, especially because people often hesitate to do so for fear of saying the wrong thing, appearing ignorant, or offending someone. In this workshop, the presenter will integrate three principles - stories, dialogue, and context - to engage participants in learning helpful skills for engaging in and facilitating dialogues about difficult topics.

Presented by Stephen John Quaye, Educational Leadership

Stephen John Quaye, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the College of Education, Health, and Society at Miami University. He is a 2009 ACPA: College Student Affairs Educators International Emerging Scholar and was awarded the 2009 Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award from NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Stephen's research and teaching broadly focus on understanding how to enable students and educators to engage difficult issues (e.g., privilege, oppression, power) civilly and honestly, as well as how storytelling is used as an educational tool to foster reflection and learning across differences. He also is interested in the strategies educators use to facilitate these dialogues and what they learn about themselves in the process. His work is published in different venues, including The Review of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Journal of College Student Development, and Equity and Excellence in Education. He is co-editor of the second edition of Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Approaches for Diverse Populations. He holds degrees from The Pennsylvania State University (Ph.D.), Miami University (M.S.), and James Madison University (B.S.).

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