In our bonus webinar for August 2020, we covered Navigating Social Justice Issues in College and Career Advising. Recent civic action and racial injustices will undoubtedly impact your counseling, advising, and teaching practices as you move into the 2020–2021 school year. We know it’s important to serve as a resource and provide a network for you.
In this webinar, Dr. Bentley Gibson, The Bias Adjuster, guided us through an informative discussion around personal and societal experiences with racism, how those experiences can impact your work with students, and how student experiences with these injustices shape their postsecondary planning.
Attendees shared the following questions and concerns about navigating social justice issues in a college and career advising setting:
- All the unknowns as we move forward this year and beyond
- A lack of awareness when it comes to multicultural issues and social justice
- How to begin addressing current events in a way that brings people together and cultivates equity
We kicked off the conversation by sharing 7 Ways to Respond to Students with Empathy. It is always good practice to keep these top of mind in your work with students, whether you are brand new to the field or you’re a seasoned educator:
- Follow the “Platinum Rule,” not the “Golden Rule”
- Ask open-ended questions
- Set aside your own reaction
- Use “I” statements (not “you” statements) to avoid blame
- Actively listen to what the student is saying
- Don’t jump into “fix it” mode
- Validate students’ feelings
Our content and resources team also shared guidance from The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) on career advising. ASCA provides career conversation starters that help determine student needs based on corresponding ASCA mindsets and behaviors. These middle school and high school career conversations will support equity and awareness within your comprehensive counseling and advising programs, and they are a great resource for you to review as you start the fall semester.
If you have not yet investigated some of your own experiences and beliefs around race, gender, sexuality, age, and other topics, you can do so by taking a series of free implicit bias assessments from Harvard.edu.
Dr. Gibson and attendees also discussed the following strategies to reduce unconscious bias:
- Self-reflect by looking into your own biases
- Understand yourself through practice and experience
- Counteract stereotypes you are used to seeing
- Shift group boundaries through positive competition
- Train in empathetic responding
We covered additional strategies within the webinar. The aforementioned strategies were discussed as the MOST effective when changing mindsets around implicit biases. Take a look at our webinar recording for additional strategies from Dr. Gibson and your colleagues.