Engaging across Difference through Intergroup Dialogue: Two Lecturer’s Reflections on Teaching Diversity.

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Asanda NGOASHENG, Cape Peninsula Institute of Technology, South Africa
Gachago GACHAGO, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
More than twenty years after the fall of the apartheid, South African student and lecturer’s engagements across race are still tainted by the history of separate development. One of the key assumptions about engaging across difference is that the presence of diversity alone in a community can lead to community members being able to engage diversity without challenges. Real life experiences of multi-racial spaces however, debunk this myth and show that engagement is a difficult and challenging process riddled with many misunderstandings. This auto ethnographic study set in post-apartheid South Africa presents the reflections of two lecturers when trying to create classroom spaces to engage across difference. Framed by critical theory, critical pedagogy, decoloniality and literature on inter-group dialogue we unpack some of the moments of learning when trying to make invisible structures visible in the classroom - one of the core demands of critical pedagogy. This study also interrogates the necessary conditions for teaching as a diverse team and engaging across difference and finds that there are some requirements for inter-racial collaboration. This collaboration requires a focus on intersectionality, an awareness of the emotions accompanying difficult conversations and how these can hinder transformation when not engaged with critically. Established notions of safety in unequal spaces also need to be challenged for inter-racial collaboration to be successful.