Curriculum choices can carry implicit messages about whose knowledge is valued. By varying content emphases, examples, perspectives, scholars, and illustrations, educators can promote a sense of belonging among students who may not see their experiences reflected in courses.
Including content by a variety of authors can improve student learning outcomes, such as critical thinking and appreciation of differences. It may also help students see the breadth of academic disciplines and understand the range of people who contribute to our learning.
If you'd like to make changes to your course, consider these ideas:
- What are the important questions to be asked and ideas for students to know about this subject? What are the range of perspectives on these key concepts? What are the distinguishing markers within this range?
- How are your beliefs about the value of multiple perspectives reflected in the course? Have you included learning objectives that signal a strong value?
- How does identity impact how you choose content material or how you organize it? Do you tend to choose material and use examples that reflect important parts of your identity, rather than including a broader variety of perspectives? How do assumptions about your students impact your choice of materials or organization? For example, do you use what you know to gradually build knowledge and respect before discussing controversial topics?
- When considering changing your curriculum, which of the approaches below best fit your intentions and discipline?
- Contributions approach: Various groups' or scholars’ contributions are mentioned throughout a course that is otherwise unchanged.
- Additive approach: The course maintains traditional views with alternative perspectives added to what is already there. Educators encourage students to analyze why alternative perspectives have been excluded in the past.
- Transformative approach: The course challenges traditional assumptions and encourages students to think in new ways. The course is built using content and processes that challenge convention.