Counteracting Othering

The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover how a single intervention focused on civil, respectful conversation across difference might influence marginalized college students’ sense of belonging and privileged college students’ level of curiosity from the participating community college students’ perspective. The study investigated four main questions: How does a semi-structured, relational micro-intervention focused on civil, respectful conversation across difference influence college students’ sense of belonging and level of curiosity? How do responses to the micro-intervention differ between historically privileged and historically marginalized students? Straus and Corbin’s (1990) assertion that qualitative research methods can be effectively employed to improve our understanding of little-known practices was applicable to the research presented here. The researcher used a phenomenological approach, exploring and describing the lived experiences of students who participated in an engagement with their other through interviews (Creswell, 2014; Giorgi, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). Findings have been organized into five themes: 1) Otherness, Rapport, Familiarity, & Connection; 2) Student Response to Structure & Story Sharing; 3) Micro-Intervention Expectations; 4) Micro-Intervention Experiences & Influence; and 5) Perceived Value of Micro-Intervention. Within each of these themes, the researcher explored both the major findings and key outliers that have the potential to be instructive for further research. These key findings indicate that semi-structured, relational micro-interventions across difference can influence sense of belonging and level of curiosity, as well as lay the groundwork for small-scale relationships or sustained relationships to grow through the fostering of rapport, recognition, and connection.

Engagement, Belonging, Curiosity

Pedagogy and Curriculum

Virtual Lightning Talk

  • Gina Baleria
    • Faculty, Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University, United States United States