Teacher and Student Perceptions of Microagressions in College Classrooms

Subtle forms of prejudice called microaggressions occur in college classrooms, but the effective methods of managing such prejudice are not clear. This study explored teachers’ (N = 222) and students’ (N = 166) perceptions of vignettes describing classroom microaggressions and the effectiveness of various teacher responses to the microaggressions. Teachers of courses focused on diversity perceived microaggressions more negatively and were more likely to respond to the microaggressions than teachers of nondiversity courses. Students believed that teacher responses to microaggressions were effective and ignoring microaggressions was ineffective. The results suggest that teachers should in some way respond to classroom microaggressions. They also suggest that diversity awareness may be a factor in the ability of teachers to recognize subtle prejudice in the classroom.