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Social Justice Pedagogies

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Introduction to the Social Justice Pedagogies Resource Guide

In this guide, you'll find recommended readings, strategies, and resources for instructors interested in incorporating social justice pedagogies within their classrooms. While the provided introductions to each pedagogy may be broadly useful to all instructors, there is a specific emphasis on teaching in Libraries and for English courses along with strategies for how to adopt social justice pedagogies into praxis. We define social justice pedagogies as methods of teaching dedicated to creating equitable classrooms, discussions, and assignments for students of all identities. Social justice pedagogies do not simply seek to "include;" instead, they recognize and seek to dismantle the racism, sexism, and ableism built into academic institutions through critical self reflection, advocacy, and anti-oppressive teaching frameworks.

Within the guide, each tab describes a pedagogy or a set of interrelated pedagogies. You will find that many of the pedagogies we selected build or relate to each other, indicating the cyclical rather than linear nature of social justice pedagogies. Within the pedagogy, you'll find a brief summary, suggested practices, recommended readings, and other recommended resources. Influenced by critical pedagogy and its liberatory goals, the suggested practices section include two sections: reflective practices and teaching practices. This approach exemplifies the necessity for instructors to engage in a series of self-reflection before adopting the recommended teaching strategies. Where possible, we included discipline-specific readings.

Suggested Practices

Reflective Practices

As you explore these resources, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have an existing teaching philosophy? What does your teaching philosophy tell you about your priorities as an educator? If you don't have one, take a moment to draft something.
  2. In what ways does your teaching adhere to standard practices that benefit the academy or the teacher? How might you reorient your teaching so that it is better focused on benefitting your students?
  3. What are some approaches or strategies that you take that work to affirm those students who belong to minoritized groups?

Teaching Practices

After you work through some of the reflective practices, here are some starting teaching practices you might adopt. 

  1. Re-examine and revise your syllabi or lesson plans so that diversity isn't framed as a series of add-ons and accommodations but rather social justice is built into the foundation of your courses through policies, texts, assignments, and in-class activities and discussions.
  2. Consider how you navigate the space of the classroom itself and how you might use the space to make it more community-oriented.