I read the Turner paper that Ferzileta posted and then I read Racial Microaggressions and the Difficult Dialogues on Race in the Classroom from Bisola and I appreciated the opportunity to think about the two together. While I found the Turner piece a helpful introduction to how emotions have been theorized, I was excited to see emotions come up in the Sue et al. paper. With only a brief explanation of the emotions generated during experiences of microaggressions, I think a deeper analysis of participant emotions could have been connected to power and race using a stratified theory of emotions. As part of this theory, “those who have had power, material resources, and prestige will experience positive emotions toward self and exhibit confidence” (Turner p.350), while those who lack power will experience more negative emotions towards self. It seems like the experiences of the participants in this study on microaggressions all seemed to experience a power imbalance especially in relation to the professor where there is expressed concern about grades. The work on microaggressions interests me, as I believe we are all mutually implicated in the cause and the effect of these experiences on one another, especially as educators. I find myself wondering about my own students, where they may have had these experiences, in my classroom and how these experiences must contribute to their relationship to school, learning, teachers, classrooms and their own identity and self-efficacy???
I see that a lot of my work has an emotional component and I continue to think about how emotions, my students and my own, play a part in the classroom and how I might theorize the expression of these emotions, what triggers them and how we (myself and my students) make meaning from them. I am also interested in reading more about theories related to difficult dialogues. I would most definitely categorize many of the discussions that occur in my class as difficult ones related to race, class, gender, stereotypes, oppression, and I believe a lot of my own guilt and emotions comes from not feeling like I have the knowledge or skills to address my student’s concerns (I know that it is not realistic to expect that I can address all of my student’s concerns but it is part of my innate feelings about myself as the/their teacher to want to fulfill that for them = a tension I often wrestle with). I appreciated in the reading the guidance for teachers to be honest and allow themselves the opportunity to say they do not know how to respond as well as acknowledging that I come with my own experiences that have created biases and stereotypes about others. In my class we often explore these life experiences and I share my own along with my students. There has been a lot of feedback from my class that it is exciting and liberating for them to be able to share stories about themselves, their cultures, and their experiences that have led them to see the world as they do.
Bisola, I have heard you speak about your research a few times now and correct me if I am wrong but I believe you are planning to do individual interviews with your participants, yes? I am wondering if you have thought about the focus group similar to the one used in this paper? I appreciated how the nature of focus groups in general allows for crosspollination of ideas and an added layer of group behaviors that can be analyzed. I am sure you have thought about this but just thought I would throw it out there.