Creating an inclusive classroom requires an understanding of how inequalities affect a student’s experience of the room. It also requires teaching methods that allow everyone to participate regardless of their starting point.
A recent project by King’s lecturers and students has found that engaging with non-academic materials such as the arts, literature and poetry leads to more thoughtful reflections by students on the legacies of colonialism.
The team from the Department of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and the Department of International Development have co-created a toolkit based on their use of anticolonial archives, to help decolonise the curriculum and make pedagogy more inclusive.
Rather than a top-down approach to the study of decolonisation, the use of archives allowed the students a bottom-up perspective of how activists and writers across the globe thought about solidarity in anticolonial resistance.
The project focused on archives of Lotus, a multilingual magazine published by the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association as a platform for writers, artists, poets, activists and scholars to share knowledge, theorise and build relations in their global anti-colonial struggle.
Students were asked to respond to articles and editorials in Lotus, with the option to explore a variety of formats including blogs, zines and music playlists. This allowed students to engage in the discussion on decolonisation from different entry points.
The use of multilingual anti-colonial archives like Lotus also provided an opportunity to decentre English as the primary language in the classroom. Students had the option to read the French and Arabic translations or track down translations in other languages such as Hindu, Portuguese, and Turkish, and team up to compare and discuss them.
One student reflected that learning about African film, literature, and visual arts in the module countered the trope of Africa as a ‘dark continent’ and this was empowering for Black and African students.
Through the 'Inclusive Pedagogy' toolkit, the team aims to share their experience of using the archives as a classroom resource with other academics.
Dr Rafeef Ziadah, Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy and project member, said that the cultural and artistic elements also revitalised the study of International Development by introducing alternate, global thought, and by creating space to reflect on contemporary questions of development and underdevelopment.
The project team also suggested that the use of art and music in assignments could be beneficial for neurodivergent students.
The other members of the project team were Dr Sara Marzagora (Lecturer in Comparative Literature), Malak Abdelkhalek (MA Comparative Literature 2020-21), Sudi Ali (BA Comparative Literature 2020-23), Noha Choudhury (BA English 2019-22), Salma Duqah (BA International Development 2019-2022), and Toka Alhamzawey (graphic design).