Explicit Attitudes Towards Race: The Impact of Active Learning in Teaching Diversity
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The majority of colleges and universities in the United States require students to take at least one diversity-related course to graduate. Considering the current political climate, this is a step in the right direction as it should encourage students to be more accepting and help facilitate an inclusive campus environment. However, these courses typically are not tailored towards addressing current diversity issues impacting Americans (e.g., New Zealand Film counts as a cultural diversity credit at Oberlin College in Ohio). In addition, very little empirical research has been conducted looking at the effectiveness of these courses or at which teaching methods are most beneficial for promoting inclusivity and attitude change. Therefore, we conducted an empirical study looking at the benefits of open discussion and active learning for starting the process of attitude change and to promote understanding of diverse groups and cultures. Results revealed that students were slightly more motivated to control their prejudice and that color-blind racial attitudes decreased. Contrary to expectations, results revealed that students were slightly more discriminatory after engaging with the course content.