Inclusive Teaching, Resources, Teaching and Justice

Three resources to help reflect on anti-racist teaching and course design

by Christopher Grabau, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center

As we continue to strive to create ways to be a more equitable learning community, a growing number of educational resources to support anti-racism are available.  Admittingly the volumes of resources, guides, and books available can be a bit daunting; however, listed below are three brief resources to help you start thinking about how to incorporate anti-racist pedagogy into your teaching.  Each one of these references may serve as a nice guide as you prepare for the upcoming semester.  

I invite you to take a look at the links and consider how you may incorporate anti-racist practices into your teaching,  If you would like to discuss anti-racist pedagogy, please consider meeting with someone from the Reinert Center for a confidential discussion.  [LINK]

Eight Actions to Reduce Racism in College Classrooms (AAUP):  Although the eight actions listed by the American Association of University Professors are common sense actions for all educators, I invite you to read them as a reflection on how you can be more present in your teaching. [LINK]

Calling out vs. Calling-in:  Tiffany Jewell’s excellent book, “This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action and Do the Work” [LINK] offers a reflection process when you may have to confront racism.  Jewell identifies two processes for confronting racist statements/behaviors:  “calling out” or “calling in.”

Calling Someone in when we set aside time to talk with someone about their offending statement/behavior.  You may do it over coffee, as a side discussion, or even in an email.  It is a more interpersonal approach to addressing behavior that may feel more gentle and compassionate.  Take time to consider how you may “call-in” behaviors and statements.  

Calling someone out is an approach that holds a person publicly accountable.  In a classroom, an instructor may address the class in a more immediate (but strategic) way.  Like “calling someone in” you address defamatory remarks with the same level of care towards the person.  Jewel offers a few reflections that may be helpful for instructors in any teaching situation:

  • Who has the power in this situation? The person I’m calling in/out, or me? (If you have the power in this situation, consider calling them in.)
  • Am I calling out a person or systemic behavior? (If you’re calling out systemic behavior or an institution, call them out.)
  • How much energy and emotional labor am I able to share right now? (If you don’t have the energy or aren’t willing to put in the emotional labor it takes to educate someone and work with them to change, consider calling them in with someone who can take on the work you are not able to do. I have a friend who helps me out when I don’t have the capacity to educate white people on racial oppression.)
  • Is this person likely to change their problematic behavior? (If they are not, call them out. If this is someone you’ve called in before and they’re still repeating their actions, call them out.)
  • Who is in the room? Who am I accountable to in this moment? Am I centering the needs of myself or the group? What will happen if I call this behavior out? What will happen if I call this person in?
  • What am I hoping to accomplish with this call-in or call-out?

Anti-racist course design: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the BrainReviewed in a previous blog post [LINK] Hammond’s book, “Culturally Responsive Teaching” offers a humanistic approach to course design that encourages authentic engagement and rigor for all learners.  The book leverages neuroscience to identify ways educators can construct learning opportunities that support the social, emotional, and intellectual development of all students.  Hammonds suggestions show how culturally responsive teaching and academic rigor are connected.  Each suggestion helps create a place for students to explore their individual and collective identities through discourse, effective use of language, and emotional support.  There the book offers several reflections that can help instructors create an environment that is affirming, validating, and capable of supporting “courageous conversations” about race, implicit bias, and structural racialization.