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University of Colorado Boulder

Teaching for Justice and Inclusivity In Challenging Times

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


As a teacher, are you wondering what you can say in class about race or racism or gender and sexuality? Are you feeling pushback in your own school or context or pressure to avoid topics that have been labeled as "divisive"? Are you curious about how to support all students in your classes and how to build trust with parents and families in more sustained and enduring ways? If so, this course is for you. This course supports teachers looking for tools to reach all students and families—– even as teachers’ and students’ rights are increasingly under threat and as topics such as identity, race, and gender have become increasingly contested in schools. This course strives to provide practical tips for teachers as well as guidance for collaboration and solidarity during these contentious times. We begin by defining concepts associated with inclusive teaching practices and culturally sustaining pedagogies.


  • Introductory Module
    • In this module, you will become familiar with the overall structure of the course, as well as the requirements for pursuing the course certificate. In particular, the final assignment required for those wishing to pursue the certificate will be outlined as well as the overall organization of the course.
  • Introduction to Inclusive Teaching
    • In this module, you will become familiar with common vocabulary and ideas associated with culturally sustaining teaching practices. In addition, you will consider subconscious biases that we each bring into our own classroom spaces as educators. In this module, you will be invited to think reflectively about how to honor students and families’ backgrounds, to use cultural tools as a lens and to effectively address unconscious bias in a way that allows you to meet the needs of your students and educational environment.
  • Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy
    • Educators and students alike are in a stressful teaching and learning climate. However, by practicing a culturally sustaining pedagogy that recognizes and honors student cultures, identities, and backgrounds, we can make the classroom environment warm and welcoming for all students. In this module, we define culturally sustaining pedagogies, we explore strategies and tools conducive to culturally sustaining approaches, and we consider how we might leverage such tools in our own teaching contexts.
  • Teachers' Rights and Responsibilities
    • This module examines the history of rights and responsibilities for teachers at the state and federal level. Through examination, trends will be explored to show how education has been a key political agenda whenever lawmakers feel a threat to their agenda. Specifically, this module will showcase historical trends of anti-inclusive educational policies such as anti-bilingual and anti-ethnic studies from the 1990s - early 2000s. Then, this module will highlight the current trends of anti-CRT, anti-gay legislation, anti-SEL, and Book Bans nation wide. This module will conclude with modern activism from teachers and students as examples of how these current oppressive educational trends can be fought against and pushed back on while being mindful of teacher rights and responsibilities.
  • Engaging Family and Community
    • In this module, we will explore the ways that teachers might forge relationships with family and community in order to advocate for and with students and their families as well as continue to offer Understand the value of students’ families and the role of communities in shaping school culture and landscapes.

Taught by

Emily Gleason and Paula Battistelli, PhD


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