Discourses of what is ‘normal’ and ‘other’ than normal can create and perpetuate social inequality. Groups who are positioned by the mainstream as the ‘other’ may experience marginalisation, silencing and discrimination. Social justice education works to disrupt discourses of the normal and other, and this requires us to consider our own – often unacknowledged – beliefs about what is ‘true’ or ‘normal’ or ‘common-sense’ (Robinson and Jones Diaz, 2014). The ‘cultural plunge’ is designed to encourage you to recognise and problematise (i.e. question) what you might consider ‘normal’ or taken for granted. It requires you to put yourself in the position of the ‘other’.
This task requires you to recognise aspects that makeup how you see yourself – your social positioning, identity categories and elements of your subjectivity. Then, on the basis of these aspects of yourself, we are asking you to make a visit to an event, activity or place that will place you in the position of the minority; or the other.
The written part of this task consists of three parts:
PART A. 30%
• Clearly state how you see your ‘self’ – your social positioning, identity categories and elements of your subjectivity.
• Justify why you chose to undertake your particular cultural plunge with reference to your key aspects of self
PART B. 40%
• Describe the plunge experience – where, what and who it involved. Outline the central events.
• Discuss why you expected to feel like the ‘other’ before the plunge, and, how you experienced being the ‘other’ during and after the plunge. Focus on how it felt to be the ‘other’.
• Offer some critical analysis of these feelings in relation to some of the features of your identity that you identified before undertaking the plunge. Describe your insights, decisions, and behaviours; and what you learned from the experience. Consider:
o Why do you think you expected or assumed things might be a certain way? Was this borne out by your plunge experience?
o During the plunge, what was it that might have prompted your discomfort?
o How did the identity categories that you occupy, or your assumptions about your self and others become clearer to you during or after the plunge? What did this experience teach you about yourself and how you might pre-judge others?
o How does all of this connect (or not) to class readings and/or other relevant readings? (30%)
PART C. 20%
• Based on your experiences during your plunge:
o Identify some implications for your future career as a teacher. Address each of these areas: your/a centre’s policies, programming, and working with staff, families and children.
o Make connections to broader issues of diversity and difference.
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