• Charlotte

Project blog: Student views on diversity #3

The third of our student blogs comes from Rachel Salmon, giving us another perspective on diversity within the modules.

I am a 30 something year old mother of one, so a very mature student, who is currently in year three of my degree in psychology and education studies. I am loving studying and am so pleased to have had the opportunity to do this full time.

As part of a module entitled ‘The Developing Child’, us third year students have been asked to keep an online patchwork blog to help with an assignment. However, I have found that this part of the module has been so much more than that, it is an opportunity to reflect on the subject covered, as well as an invitation to research more, read more and link anything you happen to stumble across in social media land to a more academic theme. The twitter hashtag that is running alongside this (#diversechildhoods) also aids this change in thinking. I have continually surprised myself with how much I already read links to psychology and how I can relate this to the module content.

This part of my patchwork blog shows how my thinking is already changing to be more critical and is allowing me to reflect on my own experience in a new, more academic light:

Today's session was an interesting one, the one thing that I took away was that relationships are a lot deeper than they appear to be, even at a young age. Being around children for many years due to work and being a mother has shown me many things, but I have rarely considered how seemingly simple and throw away comments could be understood in terms of intersectionality and self-image too. I do sometimes think however, that researchers and academics can look too deeply for meanings in what is just a simple interaction between children, and in doing this, we are in danger of projecting our own, adult, views and personal opinions on them. It is a fine balancing act that is hard to maintain.

We had been asked to reflect on a paper with regards to friendship, and again, the ability to think more critically, even when looking at peer reviewed papers is shown here.

The paper I read was the encounters with diversity one. I found it very interesting that the researchers had chosen to look at the views of the parents but am aware that they have used the children's information in a separate paper, which seems strange as I would imagine that comparing both views would have maybe offered a bit more insight into how they are similar and how they differ. This paper reflects the lived experiences of the children from a parental view, but it could be argued that they were influenced by the interviewer being there, in other words, a social awareness.

This module has introduced so many new theories and ways of looking at children, one such example is the confusing phrase “intersectionality”, which is not as scary as it first sounds! With the help of some TED talks, I am now able to relate this to a variety of subjects.

The intersectional areas mostly considered in this article are culture, race, class and gender. However, it is worth considering if children are aware of the many parts of themselves, and even if the parents would consider these if un - prompted. Overall, studying friendships and their origins, rules, formation and break ups is a subject that is fascinating on its own, but even more so when intersectionality is applied. I found that it has helped me to really consider how so many factors can really have an impact on how a child views friendship.

Let us know your thoughts! @CharlotteJD

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