Teaching Tools

The Department of Black and Latino Studies is interdisciplinary and is fully committed to antiracist inclusive teaching and learning.  Everyone should feel welcome and safe in our classes. We assembled these resources for teaching so that all BLS faculty can develop an ongoing teaching practice that supports active, empowered learning.

Our work continues the radical, inclusive pedagogical practices of an earlier generation of faculty at CUNY, including Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and Audre Lorde.  You can read their writings about teaching at CUNY here:

Toni Cade Bambara, Realizing the Dream of a Black University & Other Writings (Part 1)

June Jordan, “Life Studies”:  1966-1976

Audre Lorde, I Teach Myself in Outline:  Notes, Journals, Syllabi, and Excerpts from Deotha


Our introductory courses (BLS 1003 and LTS 1003) are a critical moment for students as they begin their college careers.  These courses are foundational.  Faculty will teach new concepts and new vocabulary as well as new tools for building arguments and for analyzing evidence.  Students will be learning how to think and how to succeed in college.  In these classes,  faculty should mentor students in their abilities to assess and build arguments using reliable evidence.  Students are not equally prepared for college.  We want all of our students to graduate and to feel excited about learning.  Faculty should make intentional choices for balancing accessible texts and assignments that inspire students to grow in their thinking, and at the same time, to encourage advanced study in the department’s more advanced courses.

The general learning goals for these introductory courses are:

  • think  critically about race and racism
  • understand intersectional connections between key issues and ideas regarding Black and/or Latinx peoples
  • communicate arguments and ideas in multiple formats (written, oral, digital)
  • analyze evidence (quantitative and qualitative)
  • understand the value of interdisciplinary + comparative study

How will your course content and assignments support these learning goals?  How will you assess whether  students have been able to develop the skills above?  While you are welcome to customize these learning goals, please keep them in mind as you organize your course content and course activities.

In introductory courses such as the “Evolution and Expressions of Racism”  or “Latin America:  An Institutional and Cultural Survey,” faculty can consider these broad topics as invitations to choose 3 or 4 themes/concepts in which students can learn about Latin America, or about how racism and resistances to it works.  These courses are interdisciplinary.  Please consider the ways in which your course integrates history with policy, or poetry with politics. Inclusive, antiracist teaching and learning means that our courses should invite critical thinking about equity–about gender identity, sexuality, empire and colonialism, class, language, and race.

You are welcome to include multiple kinds of texts such as history, primary sources, poetry, fiction, music, or visual culture to help students understand the multiple ways students can access ideas.   Similarly, assignments should also vary:  skills assessments should be responsive to the diverse ways in which people learn.  Exams and papers could be replaced or supplemented with multimedia projects, podcasts, or group projects.

Please be considerate of the multiple ways students learn.  How will your course be responsive to learning diversity?  How will you encourage active participation?


BLS is interdisciplinary, and its courses should reflect critical practices that include more than one discipline.  Students should be able to know and articulate the differences between quantitative and qualitative analysis and evidence.


We hope the following resources will inspire faculty to customize active learning in BLS  classes.