Strategies for Antiracist and Decolonized Teaching

Excerpt from Strategies for Antiracist and Decolonized Teaching – by Anamika Twyman-Ghoshal, PhD, and Danielle Carkin Lacorazza, PhD – from Faculty Focus, March 31, 2021.

It is important to mention that we approach concerns over racial and social justice as practitioners and learners who strive towards the goal of antiracism and decolonization of the curriculum. This is ongoing and the purpose here is to share strategies to bring us closer to being ethical educators. The list and framework suggested here is not comprehensive and there is much more learning and growth that needs to be done, particularly when it comes to acknowledging our own biases and how they manifest in the classroom. It is important to realize that you do not have to be an expert on these topics to actively engage in these conversations with students. However, to effectively guide these conversations, faculty should continuously educate themselves.

The aim is for teaching practice to be more honest and encompassing. We are not challenging academic freedom, but rather encouraging a reflection on how our knowledge is abridged and distorted. Academic freedom does not give us the right to disregard integrity, professional values, and human rights. As scholars we have a social responsibility to provide students with the comprehensive education they deserve, not one that is inherently racist and colonizing.

Ethical and comprehensive teaching and learning begins with intellectual reflexivity; according to Emirbayer and Desmond (2011) reflexivity requires that individuals engage “in rigorous institutional analyses of the social and historical structures that condition one’s thinking and inner experience.” Such reflexivity requires a recall of the principles of antiracism and decolonization. Antiracism requires an acknowledgement of the role race plays in society and the recognition that reality is constructed around a person’s social identity, location, and experience. As faculty, we need to actively engage with what is absent and missing in our courses. This requires a decolonization pedagogy and a move away from the Colonial University. Education needs to be unfettered and actively recognize selective narratives that exclude the knowledge, culture, and history of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).

The [Antiracist and Decolonized Teaching and Learning] framework incorporates five key areas of action. The aims of each are supplemented with a series of questions that guide faculty in the reflection and the recall of antiracist and decolonizing strategies.

Last Modified: March 31, 2021