Prof shares tricks for sneaking social justice into classroom
An education professor recently revealed the techniques she uses to push a social agenda and "decenter whiteness" in the classroom.
Professor Ann Blankenship-Knox (who is currently listed as a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi, but identifies herself as a faculty member at the University of Redlands in her byline) self-exposed several of her own teaching practices in an article for the journal Whiteness and Education.
"Educational leaders...can dismantle systemic oppressions and marginalisation if given the right tools."
Blankenship-Knox states right off the bat, for instance, that she asks her students “to reflect on their own intersecting identities to create empathy” in an effort to “disrupt systems of power and oppression,” explaining that “when an individual’s consciousness of her own privilege and oppression is intersectional, she will have more compassion when interacting with others who are oppressed in different ways.”
To that end, she goes on to outline a number of strategies that she herself uses to teach social justice in the classroom, such as making students come up with an agreed-upon definition of “bias” before subsequently deconstructing one of their own biases.
“The assignment has thus far proven very successful in getting students to engage in social justice self-reflection,” she writes, noting that students have confessed biases towards Christian conservatives, the wealthy, and members of the LGBTQ community, among others.
Additionally, she asks her students to "journal or otherwise document observed oppressions” and develop a “working knowledge of critical theory” while taking her courses.
Blankenship-Knox also pledges to “decenter whiteness” in her classes by prioritizing “first person narratives of people of colour, and documentaries that challenge the narratives presented in Mississippi history books.”
“Educational leaders, both in the classroom and in administrative positions, can dismantle systemic oppressions and marginalisation if given the right knowledge and tools,” she concludes.
Campus Reform reached out to Blankenship-Knox multiple times for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen