Developing an Anti-Racist Approach to Teaching

Saima Salehjee, Catriona Cunningham, Current Practices Working Group of the Anti-Racist Curriculum (ARC) Project

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Mike Watts (2020), while discussing strategies for teachers and mentors to cope with contingent questions, proclaims:
The ‘bottom line’ here is that complex learning is complex, not just because we derive learning from a multitude of sources, but because it is a-synchronous, serendipitous, and happens as small ‘nudges of knowledge’ ‘(Salehjee & Watts, 2020, p.178) throughout life.’ Although this statement is directed to science teachers and mentors, we believe that it invites any teacher/tutor/mentor/ practitioner teaching in any educational setting to self-reflect on their own pre-assumptions and recognise that students as learners bring and accumulate knowledge as small nudges over their lifetime. Therefore, their viewpoints of similar and/or different life experiences/events are unique and self-perceived.
Inspired by Watts’ (2020) proclamation on ‘contingent questioning’, we offer four fictionalised case studies below, each of which we analyse through four main features: 1. Addressing unexpected questions from the students on gender, race, religion and social class or a combination of these socially-ascribed characteristics; 2. Anticipating possibility in the differing perceptions of the students; 3. Self-reflecting on your teaching practices based on the accumulative ‘nudges of knowledge’ that a student can bring in the classroom; 4. Supporting/mentoring colleagues to deal with contingency questions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication[Edinburgh]
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • race
  • teaching
  • anti-racism
  • Higher Education
  • curriculum development

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