Equity Pedagogy

What Happens to Empathy Deferred?

#CharlestonSyllabus — songs, films, essays, books…This is a must-visit goldmine if we are to engage in culturally responsive teaching.

Developing Social Justice Literacy: An Open Letter to Our Faculty Colleagues — Just agreeing that social justice is important is not enough. Educators must practice social justice or else the concept is meaningless.

Practical Ways We Can Stop Centering Everything Around White People’s Feelings

An excerpt:

…to maximize our learning of social justice content, we offer the following guidelines:

1. Strive for intellectual humility.

2. Recognize the difference between opinions and informed knowledge.

3. Let go of personal anecdotal evidence and look at broader societal patterns.

4. Notice your own defensive reactions, and attempt to use these reactions as entry points for gaining deeper self-knowledge.

5. Recognize how your own social positionality (such as your race, class, gender, sexuality, ability-status) informs your perspectives and reactions to your instructor and those whose work you study in the course.

And another excerpt:

Practice the following approaches to the course content in support of Guideline 4:

• How does considering the course content or an author’s analysis challenge or expand the way I see the world?

• How have I been shaped by the issues the author is addressing? For example, if the author is talking about the experiences of the poor and I was raised middle class, what does their perspective help me see about what it means to have been raised middle class?

• What about my life in relation to my race/class/gender might make it difficult for me to see or validate this new perspective?

• What do my reactions reveal about what I perceive is at risk were I to accept this information?

• If I were to accept this information as valid, what might be ethically required of me?

And lastly, excerpt from the conclusion of the article:

General Reflection Questions to maximize learning of social justice content

1. If I wasn’t worried about my grade, how would my engagement in this class shift?

2. Which of the various guidelines detailed in this essay are the most challenging to me, and why? How can I meet these challenges?

3. What degree of responsibility am I willing to take for getting the most out of this course (e.g., coming to class prepared and having completed the reading, engaging in large-group discussions, not dominating discussions, asking questions for clarity, speaking respectfully in class, and using academic rather than colloquial discourse)?

4. What degree of responsibility am I willing to take to support my peers in getting the most from this course (e.g., engaging in discussions, not dominating discussions, listening respectfully when others speak, taking the small-group discussions seriously, coming to class prepared and having completed the reading)?

5. Many students think about higher education solely as a stepping-stone to employment, and thus the only knowledge that is worthwhile is knowledge they see as directly connected to getting a job. We ask you to consider what other kinds of skills higher education can provide, and how these skills are also connected to future employment. If you think beyond a strictly vocational approach, what skills do citizens in a global democracy need? How are these skills also important to any future work you do?


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