Session #6: Curriculum Renewal: Decolonization and Diverse Cultural Perspectives

Session #6

Curriculum Renewal: Decolonization and Diverse Cultural Perspectives

March 22, 2022

Panel Members
Katherine Larson, Vice Dean, Teaching, Learning & Undergraduate Programs, UTSC
Angela Mashford-Pringle,
Associate Director, Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health

Highlights from the panel discussion

Examples of Pedagogical Strategies Across Disciplines

  • Universal design for learning
  • Discussing instructor positionality
  • Discussing the land acknowledgement
  • Involving students in the establishment of discussion frameworks
  • Disrupting knowledge transmission as only one-way
  • Choosing a diverse range of texts and case studies that showcase Black and Indigenous excellence
  • Starting the class with diverse knowledges and perspectives, rather than presenting them as “alternative” or as an add-on
  • Framing course policies with student support and success in mind

Discussion points

How do you deal with resistance to changing the ways things have been done historically?

  1. Engage Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty champions
  2. Invite people into classes to see how proposed changes work.
  3. Take baby steps – look at what can be changed in graduate steps. Ask questions “Why are we doing this; is there another way of doing this?”.
  4. Start conversations – hard conversations are an opportunity for change to take place.
  5. Create spaces for conversations where the institutional commitment is clear and invite institutional leaders to facilitate conversations.

How to you create meaningful experiences for students in larger courses and in an institution that is so large?

  1. Ask students to go outside for class.
  2. Ask questions that invite conversations.
  3. Encourage people to move: hugging circle, scavenger hunt.
  4. Teach students to think about thing and see things differently.
  5. Use Teaching Assistants to help build community. Open opportunities to move away from lectures to discussions between students, TA’s and faculty.
  6. Re-evaluate the disciplinary framework – what is taught and how.

How do we incorporate what we learned during the pandemic that served different students in a way they have never experienced – such as the benefits of online courses for students with disabilities?

  1. This proactively about creating community – for students who have historically not had a sense of community, including students in a way that feels supportive. This can be done through engaging students across academic years (mentoring).
  2. Think about where students encounter knowledge and how they move through their courses/programs (course curriculum maps, interdisciplinary cohorts).

Resources relevant to the session