Liberating Our Curriculum: Diversity in Class Resources

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Dr. Deborah Custance, Academic Director of TaLIC and Senior Lecturer at Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, reflects on diversity in class resources. This is the first reflection in a series of cases looking at inclusive teaching.

I was lecturing on comparative psychology a few years ago and presenting one of those images of monkeys evolving through to apes, early hominids and modern humans. A student raised her hand and asked, “Why are these pictures always of white men?” It got a really interesting discussion going about these kinds of illustrations.

human evolution black to white
Image source

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 13.37.28Afterwards, I was thinking about this discussion and took a look at the slides from a number of lectures. I was shocked to see that nearly all the images containing people were of Caucasians. I realised why as soon as I started to try and swap out some of my images for more widely inclusive photos. I usually just conduct Google image searches when preparing lecture slides. When I looked for images to illustrate my lecture on the evolution of parenting, I had to scroll quite far down to find anything other than white, heterosexual parents. Ever since, I have been much more mindful with respect to the kinds of images I select.

What I have learned:

Consider the images you select for lecture slides and make sure that they are not by default dominated by white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied subjects.

Further Resources

Fiarman, S. A. (2016). Unconscious bias: When good intentions aren’t
enough. Educational Leadership, 74(3), 10-15.
Guo, S., & Jamal, Z. (2007). Nurturing cultural diversity in higher education: A critical review of selected models. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(3), 27-49.

 

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