Discussing socioeconomic status in college classes can be challenging. Both teachers and students feel uncomfortable, yet social class matters more than ever. This is especially true, given increased income inequality in the United States and indications that higher education does not reduce this inequality as much as many people hope. Resources from current psychological science can inform teaching by providing insights about social class stereotypes, attributions about blame and deserving, trust, cross-class interactions, and class cultures. Implications for teaching include paying attention to the potential for class-based stereotype threat, cultural mismatch, and stigma, as well as considering relative status in addition to absolute rank. Ongoing research can provide useful and hopeful directions for coping with social inequality in college classrooms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- class culture
- social class
- socioeconomic status