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–this includes being responsive to different ways that people learn.  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, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks.  You can read some of their writings about empowered teaching 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

bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (introduction)

INTRODUCTORY COURSES

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 upper division 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

As you plan your syllabi, please consider the following questions:  How will your course content and assignments support these learning goals?  What are the multiple ways you assess whether  students have been able to develop the skills above?  How does your course content reflect interdisciplinary thinking and communication?  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.  For instance, you can consider the ways in which your course integrates history with policy, poetry with politics, or music with protest. Inclusive, antiracist teaching and learning means that, as our courses  invite critical thinking about equity–about gender identity, sexuality, empire and colonialism, class, language, and race–they also offer safe spaces for students to explore, to ask questions, and to make mistakes.

Your syllabus should always include the following:

  • Your contact information and office hours (in person and online).
  • A statement of care.  This includes listing services that are free and available for students’ care and success.  These services include mental health counseling, financial aid and emergency assistance, tutoring, and more.  You can find a more detailed list via the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Your policy on attendance, late work, and academic integrity.
  • A Zoom link you can use for emergency modality adjustments and remote office hours.
  • Your statement on COVID policy.  You cannot require students to wear masks, but you can ask and/or have a discussion about what works for everyone.

You are welcome to include multiple kinds of texts such as history, primary sources, poetry, fiction, memoir, podcasts, film, music, or visual culture to help students understand the multiple ways we all 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.  You

Again please be considerate of the multiple ways students learn.  How will your course be responsive to learning diversity?  How will your classes encourage active participation?  How will you create a community of learners online and/or in-person?  How will you manage difficult conversations? (See resources below).

ELECTIVES  (3000-LEVEL COURSES)

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.  These courses support the BLS/LTS major as well as the minors in BLS, LTS, and LACS.

As you plan and teach these courses, please consider how you course content and assignments support interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods?  What tools will you use to facilitate 100% participation, rather than the professor and a few students dominating discussions?  How does your course inspire engagements with racial and social justice?  What career-legible skills are you helping your students practice?

Our learning goals are career skills.  In regular conversations with your students, please consider how their classroom learning has real-world applications:

  • Using interdisciplinary methods (quantitative and qualitative)  to build and support arguments addressing issues and ideas that center Black and Latinx peoples’ knowledge production
  • Communicating ideas and arguments in written, oral, and digital forms
  • Evaluating issues of social and racial justice using multidisciplinary perspectives
  • Assessing and identify reliable sources of research and information
  • Develop skills for research and problem solving

With these skills, BLS students will be able to pursue careers and advanced degrees in a range of fields including:

  • education
  • politics
  • media
  • public affairs
  • the law
  • journalism
  • business

4000-level CAPSTONE COURSES:  RESEARCH + FIELDWORK

These courses are special teaching and learning opportunities.  Research and/or fieldwork are key features of our program.  They provide our students with opportunities to make connections between their classroom learning and their futures after college.  Research and fieldwork offer experiential learning not only as practical applications of career skills, but they also support our students’ access and opportunity to engage the world.

All capstone courses should include a research project and/or an opportunity to use their skills to support a racial or social justice project.

We hope the following resources will inspire faculty to customize research and fieldwork in BLS  classes:

SAMPLE SYLLABI + COURSE CONTENT

DIGITAL AND REMOTE  LEARNING PLATFORMS

SYLLABUS PLANNING + CREATIVE ASSIGNMENTS +ONLINE PEDAGOGY TOOLS

BARUCH COLLEGE GUIDES AND RESOURCES