Using an International Videoconference in Problem-Based Inquiry Projects: The Role of Public Voice, Audience, and Positionality, pp. 10 of 14

Shifting Positionalities: The Audience

The Utah students deepened their understanding of the marriage equality issue, beyond their project work and preparation for the videoconference, through interaction with their Macedonian peers in the videoconference. The Utah students presented their position to the Macedonian students. Their position stated that based on the definition of legal marriage all people should have the right to be married in a court of law based on the 14th amendment and an equal opportunity to receive the tax benefits related to marriage. They also argued that any religious organization has the right to refuse same-sex marriage ceremonies in their places of worship; however, for the government to adopt a religious conception of marriage would violate the first amendment, especially if the Bible was the only basis for marriage to be defined as between a man and woman. They further noted, as citizens we should all recognize the right to marriage for all fellow citizens under the law, and equally respect the right of religious organizations to not recognize same-sex marriage. After the Utah students made their presentation about marriage equality to the Macedonian students, the Macedonian students had several questions.

Interestingly, the Macedonians said that marriage equality was not an issue in their country, and asked why it was so important in the U.S. The Utah students answered and cited civil rights and inclusionary principles. Then, the Utah students asked the Macedonian students why it was not an issue in their country, and if people were not accepting of LGBTQ culture? The Macedonian students said that they, the students, were all accepting of people who identified as LGBTQ, and that most people were accepting, which is why marriage equality was not an issue in Macedonia. Carl asked if marriage for all couples was legal in Macedonia, to which the Macedonian students replied, “no” (VT, p. 21). Carl then asked, “Are there any laws against couples getting married?” (VT, p. 22) And the Macedonian students collectively replied, “No, of course not” (VT, p. 22) (However, in January 2015, two months after the videoconference, the Macedonian Parliament passed a law that defined marriage as between a man and a women). There, was a long pause following the response to Carl’s question, then, Maria asked, “Why don’t same-sex couples get married?” (VT, p. 22). A Macedonian student, Victor, replied, “I don’t think they want to, it is not their goal” (VT, p.  22). Another Macedonian student, Alma, replied, “I think he means they don’t talk about this, there is no demanding, and so no persons talks about it” (VT, p. 22). The Utah students demonstrated their understanding of the marriage equality issue through their questioning of their Macedonian peers.

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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