There has been increasing awareness around the challenges students of colour face in higher education and the impact of racism on student experiences. The Inclusive Teaching Forum provided an opportunity for teaching staff to get together to discuss and learn more about BME student experiences in the Arts and Social Science faculties, challenges in addressing issues of racism in the classroom, and how we can create an inclusive and supportive learning environment.
The first Inclusive Teaching Forum for Arts and Social Science teaching staff took place on 25 October 2017. It was organized as a direct response to complaints from students of colour about their experiences of micro-aggressions and racism in the classroom. The classroom should be a space for learning and development, but instead many students of colour described spending their time and energies challenging ideas of racism and addressing day-to-day microagressions. They are often made to feel like this is not a space that they belong and their academic interest are not represented in teaching.
The purpose of the Teaching Forum was to begin a conversation among teaching staff about the challenges we face, our own insecurities in talking about and addressing racism in the classroom, and how we might begin to create an anti-racist classroom that is inclusive of all of our students.
The forum was designed around six fundamental and guiding principles. Five out of six of these have been adapted from the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter Mark fundamental principles.
The project pages have been set up to continue the conversation that we began at the Teaching Forum, raise institutional awareness around efforts and challenges in confronting racism at the University, and assist in moving the University towards a culture of anti-racism.
Continuing the Work...
This is an interactive project, and so we hope you will all contribute your own experiences, strategies, references and feedback. Only by working together and putting in the work can we create any real and long-lasting change.
The discussion forum is set up for you to ask questions and share experiences related to creating an inclusive and anti-racist classroom.
What resources have assisted you in understanding 'race' or how racism operates in or outside of the classroom? What books do you think are crucial to creating an anti-racist classroom? Use the forum to suggest and comment on different resources that you have found useful.
The listing of strategies on how to address racism and create an anti-racist classroom were suggested by members of staff who attended the Teaching Forum.