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Universal Design for Learning
Decolonizing Curriculum

Challenging Colonial Bias

This topic is extensive. In this course, we have provided some basic starting points to explore and uncover ways that you can begin to shift this imbalance of knowledges and the modalities of knowledge transfer that our students have access to.

To begin challenging colonial biases, you could:

  • curate a range of options; a curriculum buffet of course content from which learners can choose (Chardin & Novak, 2021). For instance, when teaching how to summarize main themes, you could make available texts written by authors from a variety of social locations
  • seek and select materials that decentre Eurocentric histories, epistemologies, and knowledge systems. This can include exposing learners to different sources and databases as well as inviting them to collect learning artifacts from their own lives
  • ensure that materials selected are not merely additional but are embedded into the existing discourse, so that the analysis of key concepts is viewed through a variety of standpoints
  • critique, correct, and replace content that excludes, distorts, diminishes, or appropriates original knowledges and realities

Decolonizing curriculum is an ongoing, intentional process that requires dialogue, questioning, exploration, and mutual support. In the end, realizing our vision of universal inclusion for all learners and dismantling the structural, attitudinal, and academic legacy of colonialism requires community. We must work together to share ideas, collect resources, challenge our institutions, listen to our students, learn from our mistakes, and celebrate our successes.

Let’s check in with our Educator Circle on this topic.

Decolonizing Curriculum Educator Circle

Educator circle activity

Decolonizing Curriculum Educator Circle


If using a mouse, trackpad, or touch device, click on the button over an educator in the group to open the educator slide. Use the next and previous buttons to navigate between educators and the close button to return to the group.

If using a keyboard or screen reader, press the tab key to focus on an educator in the group, and press space to open the educator slide. Once open you may use the Left arrow and Right arrow keys to navigate between educators. Press Escape to return to the group.

Transcript for Educator CircleOpens in a new window


What came up for you in the Educator Circle? Is there something you’ve already begun? Something you’d like to start? Where do you think would be the most appropriate starting point for thinking about adding options for representation to your course?

As mentioned in the Educator Circle, one place to start is with our own subject areas. Taking the time to reflect on representational gaps and epistemological histories that are ignored in a Eurocentric course design and pedagogy can be inspirational!

Learn More

"The Missing Colours of ChemistryOpens in a new window" (Menon 2021) (Word Count: 4,800).

For example, science and racism have been intertwined for centuries. “One way to counter racial prejudices is to ensure we remain aware of how science developed throughout history, giving due credit to the contributions from historically marginalized groups but also not forgetting science’s involvement in establishing racial bias in society” (Menon, 2021).

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Canadian History, South Asian Studies, Solidarity LivesOpens in a new window (Runtime: 14:04 min). CC is autogenerated.

Teaching any type of history from a “lived” standpoint, or math that considers its ancient origins, or psychology from a critical perspective, enriches curriculum and welcomes discourse. Integrating a cultural safetyOpens in a new window model in health sciences curriculum can counter a “pedagogy that maintains oppressive ways of interacting with marginalized and dehumanized patients” (Koptie, 2009). Inviting psychology scholars to decolonize theory and infusing community and social work curricula with lived narratives are central to developing informed approaches to generational trauma.

The resources in this section can provide you with further inspiration and opportunities to reflect on representational gaps and epistemological histories that are ignored in a Eurocentric course design and pedagogy.

Why Algorithms Are Called Algorithms3:08 min

Here’s a quick look at some mathematical history in this video on why algorithms are called algorithms.

Digging into the theoretical foundations of our curriculum offers the opportunity to examine the political and cultural context of the theorist, their methodology, and the subject of their work. Here is some research on the actual source of a commonly taught theory: "Blackfoot Wisdom That Inspired Maslow’s HierarchyOpens in a new window."

Our college and university libraries are an important site for curating materials that support decolonizing curriculum.

Learn and Share: UDL Library3:44 min

Join us for a Learn and Share with a librarian.

Next chapterCurriculum Considerations