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Diversity Interactions Infl uence Students' Cognitive Outcomes, sampled 2,500 students at four-year institutions and found that negative diversity experiences on campus had negative consequences for critical thinking and cognitive skill develop- ment. Conversely, positive diversity interactions and discus- sions supported the ability to challenge established viewpoints and more thoughtfully refl ect upon complex issues. An inclusive classroom or lecture hall has the potential to be a medium for such positive discussions and interactions. But creating this environment is multifaceted and requires thought- ful preparation. But one effective and more immediate strategy may be as simple as integrating more diverse stories and nar- ratives into lectures and course materials. Using Narratives and Storytelling as an Inclusion Strategy Cognitive research and classroom evidence consistently sup- port storytelling and the use of narrative as a valid teaching and learning strategy improving engagement, critical thinking and concept retention. Scott Abernathy, an Associate Profes- sor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota takes storytelling one step farther by including narratives that refl ect his students' diverse lived experiences. "Covering examples of the struggle of African Americans to achieve civil rights makes perfect sense," he says for example. "But it doesn't make sense that it's the only place where we hear stories of other political actions taken by African Americans or other with sim- ilarly marginalized coverage." Weaving in more diverse examples is not only inclusive, it also helps students understand and explore issues from perspec- tives that may be different than their own. "In this approach, diversity is not a list of boxes to check off. It fi lls a much deeper role. The richness of experiences adds to a more robust un- derstanding of the topics and concepts" according to Aber- nathy. Encourage Discussion Encouraging meaningful discussion is not always as simple as it sounds, especially in larger classes. In his large sections classes, Dr. Abernathy will break students into small groups for in-class discussion, prompting them with a few warm-up questions about narratives in the assigned readings. The goal he says is to eliminate some of the anxiety students may have about speaking up in a large classroom setting and encourage all students to share their ideas with one another. Using diverse stories and narratives not only sparks in-class discussion, it also encourages students who may typically hold back in class to speak out and participate. Or as Dr. Ab- ernathy summarizes, "stories have the power to bring all voic- es into the conversation in ways that other approaches may not be able to do." Sources Flores, Antonio. "How the U.S. Hispanic Population Is Changing." Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 18 Sept. 2017, www. lation-is-changing/. Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education. Offi ce of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Offi ce of the Under Secretary U.S. Department of Education, Nov. 2016, rschstat/research/pubs/advancing-diversity-inclusion.pdf. Caplan, Paula J, and Jordan C Ford. "The Voices of Diversity: What Students of Diverse Races/Ethnicities and Both Sexes Tell Us About Their College Experiences and Their Perceptions About Their Institutions' Progress Toward Diversity." Aporia, vol. 6, no. 3, Apr. 2014, pp. 30–69., doi: cles/2014_10/Caplan_Ford.pdf. Roksa, Josipa, et al. "Engaging with Diversity: How Positive and Neg- ative Diversity Interactions Infl uence Students Cognitive Outcomes." The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 88, no. 3, 2017, pp. 297–322., doi:10.1080/00221546.2016.1271690. "Impact of Marginalization." Syracuse University Counseling Center, 15 Dec. 2017, pact-of-marginalization.html. Garibay, Juan Carlos. Creating a Positive Classroom Environment for Diversity. UCLA Diversity and Faculty Development , 2015, www. roomClimateWeb-2.pdf. " Stories have the power to bring all voices into the conversation in ways that other approaches may not be able to do. —Scott Abernathy, Associate Professor University of Minnesota Learn more about teaching with stories at

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