The Psychology faculty at Stevenson University are dedicated to provide a unique, exceptional classroom experience for our students. This week, Dr. Colleen Spada (who teaches PSY 350 Multicultural Psychology) creatively used speed dating as a class activity.

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Students engaging in speed dating in Dr. Spada’s class

“My goal was to have the students explore cultural identity,” explained Dr. Spada. “Oftentimes, we tend to make assumptions about others based on outward appearances. In this activity, the students had to come up with thoughtful questions that would help them learn more about their classmates’ culture. For example, they could ask their classmates to describe their favorite holiday and traditions, family of origin, favorite foods, or something that we wouldn’t necessarily know by looking at them.”

After coming up with their questions, the students were paired up with one another to begin speed dating. They were given three minutes to ask some of the questions that they had prepared before moving on to the next student.

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Dr. Spada led a class discussion after this speed dating activity. The students were very engaged and everybody seemed to have learned something new. For example, most students did not know that Eid al-Fitr is often selected as the favorite holiday among Muslim students. Not only does Eid mark the end of a fast, but it is also a celebration with rich traditions. In addition, paying attention to individual differences is also important in understanding culture. Specifically, even for things that are considered to be “American”, such as serving mac and cheese on Thanksgiving, not all Americans have mac and cheese for Thanksgiving.

The small class size at Stevenson allows instructors to use fun and engaging activities like this to enhance their students’ experiences. It is truly making a difference in students’ learning!