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All inclusive: lustrum UG, 5-15 June 2019

Science programme Conference: “Growing together: Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion”

Linda Juang and Sharleen Pevec

Linda Juang, photo © Lars Drawert
Linda Juang, photo © Lars Drawert

The Identity Project: An 8-week intervention promoting cultural identity exploration among secondary school students in diverse school contexts

Abstract :

The Identity Project is an 8-week intervention designed to encourage adolescents to explore their cultural identities through activities, short videos, stories, and guided discussions. One main goal is to encourage students to be aware of and appreciate both variations and commonalities in lived experiences that shape who we are. Studies in the US with 9th graders found that students completing the Identity Project, compared to the control group, reported greater cultural identity exploration one week after the intervention. One year later, they reported a clearer overall sense of self, more positive attitudes towards other cultural groups, greater academic engagement and self-esteem, and fewer depressive symptoms ( Umaña-Taylor, Kornienko, Douglass Bayless, & Updegraff, 2018). We adapted the Identity Project curriculum for a German context and younger age group (7th graders) and have completed the intervention with four classrooms.

We will start the workshop by discussing the importance of cultural identity during adolescence, describe the Identity Project curriculum, discuss what went well and what did not, report initial study findings and feedback from students and teachers, and do the first session with workshop participants. The teaching goals of the first session of the Identity Project are to 1) introduce the idea of identity as a multidimensional, fluid construct, 2) identify and categorize different components of students’ identities, and 3) emphasize how different components of students’ identities can change across time and situations.

Sharleen Pevec
Sharleen Pevec

Linda Juang is a Professor in the Department of Inclusive Education at the University of Potsdam. She studies how experiences of immigration relate to adolescents’ development and adjustment in school, family, and community.

Using a mix of methodologies and theoretical frameworks that address both risk and resilience, her work focuses on issues of cultural identity, acculturation, and adolescent well-being. Her research projects have been funded by the German Research Foundation, Humboldt Foundation, and the U.S. National Institute of Health.

She comes from an immigrant family, so she not only has a strong academic interest in topics related to migration, but also personal.

Sharleen Pevec completed her Masters degree in the Secondary Teacher Education program for German and Ethics at the University of Potsdam.

She is currently a doctoral student with a focus on the development of identity in diverse school contexts. She has taught 7th and 9th grade students and was involved in a self-affirmation intervention study of 15 schools across Berlin.

In August 2018 she participated in the organization of the 2nd Cultural Diversity, Migration, and Education Conference in Potsdam.

For the past year she has worked on the adaptation of the Identity Project and co-led two Identity Project classrooms.

Last modified:02 April 2019 2.31 p.m.
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