Towards Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Classrooms – Communities and Conversations Series

CTSI, in partnership with the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO), invites the U of T teaching and learning community to come together in a new in-depth, four-part series focused on supporting anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in teaching and learning. Through knowledge sharing, reflection and conversation we will work towards fostering change and creating a more equitable pedagogical community across U of T.

While not mandatory, we encourage participants to attend all four sessions as each session will be scaffolded such that participants can develop their skills and understanding around anti-racism and anti-oppression as they relate to learning and instruction. By creating space for collective inquiry, questioning and reflection, we envision the start of a community that can work and grow together towards more practical and advanced learning by the end of the series.

Note: In designing this series, the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) positions itself as a learner rather than an expert in the field. We strive to engage with our teaching and learning community in an ongoing process of collective self-education and communication and as such welcome feedback, comments and additional support resources to help further our collective growth. Understanding the work of anti-racism and anti-oppression is evolving, this series is not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive. Rather, we view this as an opportunity for collective engagement in ongoing and complex discussions.

CTSI is committed to supporting and actively engaging in work that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across U of T and beyond. Supporting inclusive and accessible teaching and learning is a central throughline of CTSI’s strategic priorities, and foundational to the design of our programming and supports.

In this series we hope to:

  • Draw on the knowledge of U of T’s teaching and learning community to better understand and respond to the needs of students experiencing racism and /or discrimination in all its intersecting forms
  • Reflect on how to cultivate anti-oppressive classroom space in which students feel a sense of belonging and are able to thrive
  • Help faculty overcome fear or self-doubt related to incorporating anti-oppressive practices into their teaching
  • Offer support and community to faculty who are doing anti-oppressive work and may feel isolated or depleted
  • Bring theory into action through practical teaching strategies for faculty
  • Build community and foster meaningful dialogue with faculty across the university
Group of women working at table with laptops

Workshop Series

Workshop #1: Cultivating Belonging at U of T: The Lived Experience of Faculty

January 25, 11am-1pm

In our current times of increasing complexity, in which societal injustice and colonial legacies are being brought to the forefront and critiqued by students, there is a growing need to reflect on our teaching and learning practices. Join us in this panel discussion with U of T faculty who are committed to creating anti-oppressive classrooms and reflecting on their teaching practices so they can cultivate learning experiences in which students feel like their identities belong. In this panel discussion we will explore faculty’s sources of inspiration, challenges, discipline specific approaches and how to support each other in integrating anti-oppressive pedagogy into teaching practice.

Moderator: Keith Adamson, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Professor Keith Adamson joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work as an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in August 2017. He holds more than 20 years of progressive senior management experience in clinical, management and professional practice leadership roles, as well as expertise in Clinical Governance at Mackenzie Health, Women’s College Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. His management roles have expanded from providing a professional practice lens for the Social Work profession to being responsible for the professional practice of other health disciplines.

Professor Adamson pursues research that seeks to explore innovative pedagogical approaches to interprofessional education and practice, research that explores new roles for social work within a changing healthcare system, as well as research that explores how compassionate care and empathy can be enhanced in social work education through collaboration with service users, clients and their families. Building on his commitment to education for client and family centered care, Professor Adamson developed a social work disability course in collaboration with clients and family members from the disability community and implemented a co-teaching model that represents people with lived experience as experts and holders of authoritative knowledge based on their experience. The pedagogical innovation went further by collaborating with service providers in a group of healthcare organizations to develop a training program that prepared individuals with disabilities and caregivers to co-teach with university instructors – learning how to lecture, facilitate group discussions, address questions and run simulations. Professor Adamson is committed to the spread of this pedagogical approach in professional health education, and travels nationally and internationally to share this work.


Angela Mashford-Pringle, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Associate Director, Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health Director, Program Director for the MPH in Indigenous Health
Dr. Angela Mashford-Pringle is an Algonquin woman from Timiskaming First Nation who was born, raised and resides in the Tkaronto area. She is an Assistant Professor, Indigenous Health Lead and Associate Director at the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mashford-Pringle is the Program Director the Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health (MPH-IH). Angela is the founding editor of the Turtle Island Journal of Indigenous Health (TIJIH), a graduate student-led journal. Angela has moved toward Indigenous pedagogies and ontologies by using Land as Teacher in her graduate teaching (land-based learning). She is the recipient of the OISE Leaders and Innovators Award (2021) and the University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award (2022). Her research is with urban and rural Indigenous groups and communities at the intersection of Indigenous health and education including culture, language, land-based learning, climate action, and policy analysis. Angela holds Tri-Council funding for storywork with previously incarcerated Indigenous peoples and Indigenous parents who have experience with child welfare. Her previous work included over a decade at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada in Indigenous early childhood initiatives.

Aarthi Ashok, Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Biological Sciences
Aarthi Ashok is a Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Biological Sciences at UTSC. She is also a proud founding member of the EDI committee in the Department of Biological Sciences and strives to support a diverse student body through inclusive pedagogy. Her teaching philosophy combines a commitment to the principles of active, team-based, collaborative learning with a dedication to evidence-based methods for the evaluation of teaching outcomes. Aarthi is passionate about creative assignment design and uses projects to enhance student learning through collaborations across courses and disciplines, and with community partners. Her current pedagogical research projects explore student learning in the context of community-based experiential assignments. Her student-centered learning approaches have been recognized by several awards including the 2020 University of Toronto President’s Teaching Award.

Janelle Joseph, Assistant Professor, Critical Studies of Race and Indigeneity, Founder and Director IDEAS (Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity and Anti-Racism in Sport) Research Lab
Dr. Janelle Joseph is an award-winning Assistant Professor in Critical Studies of Race in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Dr. Joseph was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artists and is on the Editorial Board of the Sociology of Sport Journal. She is Founder and Director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity, and Anti-racism in Sport (IDEAS) Research Lab and author of the text Sport in the Black Atlantic: Cricket Canada and the Caribbean Diaspora. Dr Joseph’s research focuses on decolonizing sport studies, anti-racism movements among athletes and educators, intersectionality within African diaspora physical cultures, and imposter phenomenon.

Zhaozhe Wang, Assistant Professor, Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy
Zhaozhe Wang is an Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Studies in the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy, with a graduate appointment in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE. Zhaozhe Wang studies multilingual writing and literacy, transnational rhetorics, and rhetorical studies of digital media. Originally from China and using English as a second language, Zhaozhe believes in the power of language in transforming students’ literacy development in higher education, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. His goal in the classroom is to cultivate a rhetorical sensibility that will empower students to effectively and responsibly communicate across institutional and sociocultural contexts. Serving on the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching writing, Zhaozhe is committed to advocating for multilingual and international students, educators, and scholars.

Workshop #2: Understanding Learning Theories that Inform How We Promote and Advance Inclusive Teaching 

February 21, 2pm-4pm

Kosha Bramesfeld, PhD (she/her), Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Social Psychology, Psychology Department, UTSC
Dirk J. Rodricks, Ph.D. (he/him), Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (CTL), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
Jasjit Sangha, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, CTSI
Kyle Turner, Faculty Liaison, Teaching and Learning, CTSI

This session provides an overview of key research related to creating inclusive learning environments. Through an understanding of the theoretical foundations of anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogies, we will unpack how we as educators we can evolve our learning spaces and pedagogies to value students’ diverse experiences, remove barriers, nurture critical thinking skills and build community.

Participants will learn how to apply pedagogical tools and approaches drawing from research on: Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP), Anti-Racist Education, Inclusive Education, Pedagogy of Kindness and Metacognition to create learning experiences that support inclusion, resiliency and empowerment for students.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand and recognize contemporary ideas and theoretical foundations underscoring the work of anti-oppressive/anti-racist teaching and learning practices
  • Demystify how to create an anti-oppression classroom, regardless of subject matter of your course
  • Discuss how identity impacts learning for students
  • Learn from faculty who will share their experiences creating anti-oppressive classrooms

Workshop #3: The Inner Work of Building Inclusive Classrooms

April 4, 10am-12pm

Jasjit Sangha, PhD Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Anti-Racist Pedagogies, CTSI
Mairi McKenna Edwards, Coordinator, Diversity, Equity, and Student Experience

As bell hooks outlines, “The classroom is the most radical space of possibility in the academy”. But how do we create these learning experiences for our students? What do we need to learn and unlearn? The journey towards dismantling racist and oppressive histories and behaviours is intensely personal while also being relational. It is challenging and intersectional. This workshop is a personal conversation about how we internalize systems of oppression, how they are reflected in our teaching practices, and how we can create a new vision for how we want to be as educators. In this session participants will engage in self-reflection, small group discussion, mindfulness practices and large group conversations.

Learning Goals:

  • Reflect on how we have been acculturated into systems of oppression and how they take form in our body and everyday practices as educators
  • Understand the social conditioning that informed our identity, its purpose and how we can move forward in relationship with community
  • Reflect on the educator you wish to be, and how that aligns with your deeper values
  • Feel empowered to move forward as anti-racist, anti-oppressive, anti-colonial educator

Workshop #4: TBD

Workshop information coming soon.

View recordings of previous CTSI webinars, including Documenting Your Teaching and dossier workshops.

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