Towards an Antiracist Pedagogy

Lauren Jones | September 27, 2023

Originally published in the September 2023 issue of the Notes on Antiracism, Justice, and Equity newsletter.

Ask anyone who has been taught in a classroom and they will almost certainly be able to tell you about their favorite, and often least favorite, teachers. Whether it was for the way they made you feel or for how they brought a subject to life, something about the educator-learner relationship can leave a deep impression.   

Ultimately, the real question is whether the instructor is able to draw you in to the learning and keep you engaged. It is difficult to be engaged when you cannot fully participate in the class, whether it is because of lack of accessibility or from being triggered by statements or class content that perpetuate oppression. As part of our commitment to eradicate racism in our school, our faculty and instructors are learning what it means to teach with an antiracist lens. We have already had some faculty participate in a semester-long cohort focused on inclusive pedagogy (the study of teaching and learning). Our faculty and staff have to be just as, if not more, equipped to fight oppression as our students.

To that end, in this month’s Notes on AJE we want to explore what it means to teach from an antiracist position. How do we ensure that our content and teachings are all race-conscious and justice-oriented? A couple of thoughts that immediately come to mind are how we interact with our students, and whose experiences are centered in the class content:

Of course, antiracist and anti-oppressive pedagogy is much more than this. This year the U of M Center for Innovation in Education (CEI) has a workshop series on Inclusive Teaching at a Predominantly White Institution. CEI also has other resources available that we encourage you to take advantage of, including previously recorded webinars and teaching consultations. Internally, our office of DEI will also be offering workshops specifically designed for our teaching staff. Stay tuned as we get these scheduled.

We hope that above all, you are requiring yourself and those you teach to go beyond the status quo, to learn and do more, and to be a part of real change in our school, University, and world. 

Toward justice,

Lauren Jones
Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
UMN School of Public Health

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