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Prioritising Diversity: Reflections from the Family Law Classroom

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Recent research has found that LGBTQ university students have lesser rates of satisfaction, because their experiences at university are not always inclusive (Grimwood, 2016). This has led to calls for university lecturers to actively identify and challenge incidents of abuse directed at LGBTQ students (Times Higher Education, 2016). This article argues that in addition to challenging abuse, university lecturers must also be prepared to address comments made by students in the classroom when discussing controversial subjects. Specifically, I consider a critical incident which occurred in my Family Law classroom, when students’ anti-Same Sex Marriage sentiments caused offence to others in the room. I conclude that I should not have ignored the comments, and reflect on how I could have responded in a way that would lead to a more inclusive environment for all involved. I suggest that practices which prioritise diversity are crucial (particularly when teaching controversial subjects), as part of broader strategies to promote the satisfaction of all students at university.

Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2016
Publication Date Jan 27, 2017
Journal Journal of Academic Development and Education
Print ISSN 2051-3593
Keywords diversity, critical incident, family law, LGBTQ students
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