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Adler University

Inclusive, Socially Just Teaching: Self Assessment

Find resources to guide your approach to classroom approaches

Lined notebook that is opened to a blank page. A fountain pen lays in the crease.

Social Justice Pedagogy aims to correct historical and contemporary inequality in educational practices by destabilizing power, bias, and privilege in the classroom. A social justice practitioner interrogates inequality, challenges students’ assumptions, and fosters their critical analytical skills, develops students’ awareness of their social positions, creates structures that integrate marginalized experiences and knowledge, and teaches students to identify and disrupt oppressive power structures. Both educator and students act as equal agents of social change.

In order to disrupt unequal systems and rebuild, a socially just classroom for adult learners must incorporate complex content, use pedagogical methods that are inclusive, reflective, and engage the community of learners.  (Adams & Love, 2009)

Specific aspects to consider when planning a course and engaging instruction thus include:

  • Reflecting on my social identity, perceptions of students, and students' backgrounds.
  • Creating an inclusive environment so that all students can participate and engage in learning.
  • How to learn, discuss, and critique social inequalities with students.
  • Presenting problems and approaching resolutions with an intersectional lens.
  • Encouraging equitable engagement and practicing equitable assessment. 
  • Incorporating student choice and voice for enhanced learning among adults and students with disabilities.
  • Restructuring and adding course content to include non-dominant perspectives and diverse knowledge sources. 

Use this reflection tool to examine and refine your approach to teaching with a socially just approach. One suggestion is to read and consider each element of practice and document where it is present. If it is not visible in your syllabus, activities or regular habits, note its absence and write specific actions you will take to learn more and incorporate it. After completing your self-reflection, contact Dr. Cheryl Richardson, Director of Inclusive Teaching Excellence for follow-up discussion.

Download the reflection tool below to examine your understanding and practice of social justice pedagogical practices.