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Universal Design for Learning
Decolonizing Curriculum

Further Considerations for Decolonizing Action & Expression

It’s important to remember that learner variabilityOpens in a new window includes the ways that students define success for themselves. In our linear, semestered, and credentialed postsecondary system, “success” in a program is often defined narrowly as graduating on time, getting an entry-level job in the field, or pursuing further formal education. This is not the definition of success for everyone. There is much more work that needs to be done at a systems level to welcome other definitions of success. At the course and program levels, however, we can use the framework of Universal Design for Learning to provide multiple pathways and entry points into the curriculumOpens in a new window to allow students to achieve what they want to from their learning experience.

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Tony Keith Jr., PhDOpens in a new window researches the use of hip-hop pedagogy in postsecondary classrooms.

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Another example of culturally relevant pedagogy can be found in the video Kendrick Lamar Visits Mr. Mooney's ClassOpens in a new window (Runtime: 7:02 min).

Another way to decolonizeOpens in a new window our forms of action and expression is decentring the written word as the only form of valued knowledge-expression. As Fovet (2020) writes, "decolonizing the curriculum…necessarily involves reconsidering the over-focus on the written word.” According to the Indigenous Knowledge Mobilization PacksackOpens in a new window model (Negahneewin Research Centre, 2020), all learning happens within relationships, which become the central focus for action and expression. From the relationships built into the learning environment through all three UDL principles, learners are supported to express a variety of critical thinking skills through four modes: experiential learning (relationship-based learning), interdependent thinking (relationship-based verification), storytelling (relationship-based communication), and practicing humility (relationship-based reflection). These modes, which overlap and support each other, can be further explored in the link provided above and in partnership with your institution’s Indigenous learning centre.

Let’s listen to Andratesha Fritzgerald explain how valuing the written word above other forms of expression is rooted in a culture of white supremacy. She offers strategies and support to decentre this mode of action and expression.

Andratesha Fritzgerald: Decentering the Written Word 1:25 min

Feel free to write, draw, or audio record your thoughts on this prompt. Think about your own educational experience. What modes of action and expression were prioritized? Why do you think this was the case?

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