This activity is designed to encourage you to problematise the ‘givens’, or taken for granted assumptions in your own life.
The plunge is an attempt to make the ‘strange familiar and the familiar strange.’ We ask you to attend an event or visit a place that is either dominated by a group of which you are not a member [thus placing you in the position of ‘the minority’ or an ‘other’] OR is very different from what you are accustomed to.
The plunge needs to be an experience that draws on your biases and assumptions and challenges these, by making you reflect on how these assumptions and biases came about, and how they influence they way you act/feel/think in certain situations. Remember, an appropriate ‘plunge’ for you, may not be an appropriate ‘plunge’ for others. You need to deeply consider who you are (your identity categories), your personal beliefs, values and biases and use this to decide what situation would place you in the minority or as an ‘other’.
Your ‘plunge’ needs to be a new experience undertaken with this assessment in mind. A retrospective look at a past experience is not acceptable. Your plunge cannot involve merely sitting on the sidelines and observing. It must be a situation where you are involved and interacting with others.
Before the plunge
Before you undertake the plunge, ensure you have done the appropriate reading, so that you can be aware of the range of ways we want you to reflect on the experience.
I also suggest you write up your rationale arguing why you believe this plunge would make you “othered” and uncomfortable in regard to your identity categories BEFORE you do your plunge.
You must also complete a risk assessment form before the plunge. This form can be found in the ‘resources’ section of the subject Interact2 site. Please attach this completed form to your assessment task when submitting. If applicable, students may also need to seek permission from the group or organisation they wish to ‘plunge’ with (for example, a charitable organisation).
Please consider your personal safety, as well as any ethical, politically sensitive and/or cultural issues when planning your plunge. If you are unsure whether your ‘plunge’ experience is relevant, ethical or safe, please discuss your ideas with your allocated tutor via email, or on your allocated discussion forum.
After the plunge experience
After participating in a situation where you feel like an ‘other’, complete a written analytical reflection. This should be a narrative, and should include appropriate APA 6th referencing where you refer to class/other readings. There are two parts to the assignment response:
Describe the plunge experience and discuss personal insights you gained by undertaking your ‘plunge’. You need to examine yourself and your reactions to the plunge. You need to question, evaluate and find connections between your ‘plunge’ and subject theory and readings. Comment on your experiences as ‘the other’ and focus on yourself and what you learned rather than on the group/situation involved in the plunge.
Questions that may guide you in writing your report (but not to be used as headings) include:
Why did you feel the ways in which you did?
What prompted your discomfort?
How did the identity categories that you occupy suddenly become apparent to you as you plunged?
What did this experience teach you about yourself?
Make links using examples from your experience and class readings and/or other relevant readings. Suggest some implications for your teaching/learning, pedagogies and/or curriculum development for your teaching practice in regard to your plunge experience.
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