SM  Vol.5 No.2 , April 2015
Achieving Consciousness and Transformation in the Classroom: Race, Gender, Sexual Orientations and Social Justice
ABSTRACT
This paper examines the way in which the selected use of transformative pedagogy can affect student consciousness about race, gender, and sexual orientation. Students in an upper division honors class at a large research university were required to post six comments per week to an online class portal, related to readings, class discussions, videos, and presentations, for a class on the public education pedagogies. Our research examines these web posts where students are encourages and free to express their feelings and ideas. At the end of the semester, students were asked to utilize these posts in order to identify evidence of personal transformation. Both the original posts and students final papers were then coded using the typologies proposed by Bion in his work with psychoanalytic groups which classified statements by their “work-oriented” content or their fight/flight content (Bion, 1961). We found that students’ final papers contained a larger percentage of work-oriented statements than their web-posts. This increase in self-examination and confrontation can be attributed to the transformation of identities. We argue that the work of Mezirow (1994) and Bion (1961) present useful ways of understanding transformation. We also suggest two major limitations of Mezirow’s work are his neglect of multiple identities each of which can be involved in transformation and his failure to state explicitly that transformation, more often than not, involves action related to social justice.

Cite this paper
Dhillon, M. , Rabow, J. , Han, V. , Maltz, S. and Moore, J. (2015) Achieving Consciousness and Transformation in the Classroom: Race, Gender, Sexual Orientations and Social Justice. Sociology Mind, 5, 74-83. doi: 10.4236/sm.2015.52008.
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