I began this week’s resources with The Hidden Brain (because I love me some NPR) and was immediately reminded of my resident advisor training at NC State. It was during this class that I learned of my own implicit biases, through our discussions/activities there as well as through an online quiz similar to those that we took in class last week. It was then that I first got a look at my own “hidden brain.” I learned that just by being aware of these unconscious biases, I could “turn the autopilot off” in order to best serve my residents and guide them to the resources they needed.
The association I made about my “hidden brain” and RA training actually turned out to be rather convenient as I moved on to another resource for this week–the case study in the chapter entitled “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces” from Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens. Their discussion of the the “One Step Forward, One Step Backward”definitely rang a bell; I think we did that activity in my class! Curious about the RA training class at NC State now, I looked up a more current syllabus. Though I cannot know for sure if “One Step Forward, One Step Backward” has stopped being done in the class, it seems that at least a major part of the “Personal Cultural Analysis” portion now takes place through a written assignment. The syllabus is explicit in that the assignment “will not be shared…publicly or with your peers” so students can be “open and honest” about their personal identities. I hope that this type of activity has a similar eye-opening experience for the current students in the class as they, too, begin to understand their “hidden brains.”
It seems like a shame to me that even this precursory training in social awareness and inclusivity only reaches a small number of students each year. I think it would be very interesting to see the repercussions of making it a required freshman course at the university level. Does anyone have any knowledge of a program/requirement like this? What do you all think the pros and cons of such a requirement would be?