Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Roni Jo Draper, BYU-Provo professor of teacher education, regarding the multicultural education she offers students preparing to enter classroom settings. Dr. Draper says it well when she states that any one of the topics covered in this podcast would represent life-long work for particular researchers and professionals. Therefore, these are just snippets and snapshots meant to foster self-awareness regarding personal and systemic bias. Dr. Draper does an excellent job of taking the information she shares in her classrooms and making it applicable to our ward and stake settings as we interact with each other as members of the LDS church – in classroom settings, leadership settings, and social settings. Any leader, teacher, administrator and/or ward member would benefit from listening to Dr. Draper address such pivotal issues such as race, ethnicity and culture, immigration, social class, religion, gender, sexuality, and concepts around group dynamics. These subjects show up in every ward and stake across the world. And in a church where, in spite of global growth and membership, is still run primarily by caucasian, middle to upper class, heterosexual men, multicultural and diversity training is sorely needed. In a setting where the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be accessible to all, we want to avoid discrimination and microagressions at all cost.
Dr. Roni Jo Draper is married and the mother of three sons (two of whom identify as straight, and one of whom identifies as queer). Two of her sons came into her family in conventional ways. Her third son came by simply requesting a place in the family. She has enjoyed mothering all of her boys. She has appreciated the opportunity to help her son make sense of his sexuality and his place in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her family also consists of two daughter-in-laws and two grandsons. Dr. Draper is a professor of teacher education at Brigham Young University-Provo where she teaches courses in literacy and multicultural education. She earned her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her current scholarship focuses on the preparation of future teachers to create opportunities for all children to learn and to thrive regardless of race, class, religion, language, sexuality, or gender. A convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dr. Draper has enjoyed activity as an LDS woman for more than thirty years—serving primarily in the Sunday School and Young Women organizations.
Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to Brian Dillman for audio production of this podcast. Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.
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