Colourful silhouettes of several people passing by each other, in front of a pale yellow background.

Lesson 3: Anti-racism in teaching and learning

Key considerations & strategies for being an anti-racist educator 

Being an anti-racist educator requires a commitment to dismantling the systems and structures that institutionalize racism in your learning environments. This can be achieved in several different ways.

Create an environment based on equity and equality

Strive to avoid assumptions and stereotypes. Acknowledge your biases. Work towards mitigating biases in your practice and subverting them in your consciousness.  

Diversify course content, materials, and resources

Invite guest speakers from marginalized communities to offer their voices and lived experiences to your class. Provide students with the opportunity to be exposed to diverse perspectives.

Allow students to lead class discussions

Empower your students to get involved in and take ownership of their learning processes. Create a safe, egalitarian learning environment. Encourage student engagement with the learning material.

Learn the names of your students

Ask for preferred names, pronunciations, and pronouns. Use them!

Monitor the way you speak

Avoid using racist or culturally insensitive language. Microaggressions are often displayed by people that have “good intentions”, but they do more damage than good.

Avoid tokenizing students

Avoid singling out specific students for comments on sensitive topics. In some instances, it can be comparable to causing them to re-live their trauma. Create open and safe discussion spaces where students have the space to offer a position without feeling pressured to. 

Create or build a community of inquiry

You don’t have to do this alone! Get together with fellow practitioners or partner with people of similar passions to create a collaborative community of practice. Share materials and provide each other with constructive feedback. Learn and grow together!

Engage in critical self-reflection frequently

Conduct a regular, critical examination of your teaching practices. Invite perspectives from all your students. Take the time to honestly reflect on their feedback and experiences. Acknowledge your biases and work towards mitigating them in your practice.

Educate yourself

Seek to understand the nature of barriers created by systemic racism. Open yourself up to new perspectives. Read up on systemic racism and EDIA, listen to educational podcasts, or watch a Ted Talk. There are so many available resources we can learn from! 

Pause and reflect

Take some time to pause and reflect on what you have just learned. Try to consider how we can promote anti-racism in teaching and learning by asking yourself the following questions.

Anti-racism worksheet

Download PDF

The importance of continuing anti-racism related work

Put what you have learned into action. Do your part as an anti-racist educator by committing to inclusion. The strategies devised and discussed in this learning module serve as a pivotal platform for promoting anti-racism throughout the teaching and learning communities on campus.  

Recognize lived experience

Acknowledge the lived experiences of our campus community members.

Create safe spaces

Use the strategies you have learned today to transform your classroom into a safe space.

Stand up to injustice

Continue to challenge racial injustice and complacency in the university community.

Encourage growth

Support the ongoing development of an inclusive and safe environment and help transform your campus community into an equitable space for growth and learning.

Anti-racism resources

Interested in broadening your understanding of anti-racism? Take a look through these curated resources to further your knowledge.

  • Desmond, Cole. The Skin We’re In:  A  Year of Black Resistance and Power.  Doubleday Canada, 2020.​ 

  • DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk  about​ Racism. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018.​ 

  • Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be Antiracist. New York: One World, 2019.​ 

  • Olua, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk about Race. New York: Hachette Book Group,​ 2018.​ 

  • ​Saad, Layla. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and  Become a Good Ancestor. Illinois: Sourcebooks, 2020.​ 

Lesson checklist

  • Critically reflect on the centrality of whiteness in the educational curriculum  
  • Complete the worksheet on anti-racist education 


Antiracist pedagogy across the curriculum (ARPAC). (2022). St. Cloud State University.

African and Caribbean Student Association. (2021). Student feedback on improving anti-racism on campus. University of Calgary, Faculty of Arts.

Calgary Anti-Racism Education (CARED). (2020, December 1). Race. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre.

Critical Equity Consulting. (2021). Diversity recruitment in higher education.

Ko, G. (Host). (2021, August 1). Moving forward by reflecting inwards (No.17) [Audio podcast episode]. In Against the Tides of Racism.  

University of Nevada. (2020, August 27). Tips for tackling implicit bias in teaching and learning. Newswise.

More lessons

A group of silhouetted people in front of a pale yellow background with coloured, empty speech bubbles over their heads.

Lesson 1: EDI, positionality and intersecting identities

Colourful silhouettes of people in different coloured thought and speech bubbles, on a pale yellow background.

Lesson 2: What is racism?

Colourful silhouettes of several people passing by each other, in front of a pale yellow background.

Lesson 3: Anti-racism in teaching and learning