Using an International Videoconference in Problem-Based Inquiry Projects: The Role of Public Voice, Audience, and Positionality, pp. 11 of 14

From their exchange with the Macedonian students, the Utah students came to understand the pervasive power of silence on an issue. For example, Amy’s reflection made connections to silence and views on same-sex marriage in the U.S., and wrote:

Our discussion with the Macedonians made me think of the Baker case we read about in our research. It was in the early 1970s, and was not taken seriously by the courts and silenced by everyone…it took us 30 years to break the silence…I had never even heard of the case till we did our research. I thought same-sex marriage was a new thing, and I think that’s what they [Macedonian students] thought too. (VR, p. 1)

Through the combination of their research and the videoconference discussion, the Utah students saw that silence could lead to a perception that the issue is non-existent, not relevant, or the associated marginalized groups do not find the issue of importance. The Utah students discussed this in their focus group discussions and their videoconference reflections. Many of the students, reflected on their understanding of marriage equality prior to their work on the project. They made connections to the way they were silent on the issue most of the time, but especially outside of school. Andy, for example, discussed his silence in his reflection, “I definitely cared about the issue, but it was not a big part of my life. I see now…if you care, you need to find ways to voice your care with others, otherwise it just contributes to the silence” (VR, p. 2). In the focus group discussion, as well as in six students’ reflections, the students discussed the realization that being accepting of marginalized groups is not enough, if they really wanted to support the group’s civil rights (FGI2, p. 7). The students’ reflections demonstrated a major realization in the students’ thinking because they felt secure in their “two worlds” and had resigned to simply being accepting of marriage equality, and only implicitly accepting of marriage equality outside of school.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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