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Checklist - How to Start Questioning Your Own Classroom Practices

We want to support educators in film and media courses in their quest for building more  diverse classrooms, curricula and methods. We know this task may seem daunting at times, as it may require years of deconstructing structures of discrimination and is a life-long learning. In order to ease this process, we have put together this introductory checklist for adopting a critical pedagogical approach as a quick way to introduce you to this process or to refresh the knowledge you may already have.

We hope this helps! You can download the checklist here.

Starting points

  • Have you noticed if your course attendance is evenly distributed among different genders? If it's not, have you reflected on why?
  • Do you think any subject can be analysed through a gender and diversity perspective?
  • Do you think  the way in which people are represented in films, series, video games, and other media is important?
  • Do you actively discuss diversity issues in your classroom?

Personal positioning

  • Do you agree that people from different backgrounds have different experiences in film and media schools and in the industry?
  • Have you questioned how your personal identity and background can influence the way you teach and your choice of teaching materials?
  • Have you examined your own conscious and unconscious biases?

Class structure and teaching style

Does your class structure and teaching style...

  •  … foster an active learning experience for students, inviting them to participate and share experiences?
  • … allow space for students to connect what is being taught with their personal experiences? 
  • …allow for students’ active contributions, beyond repetition and memorisation?
  • …encourage critical thinking and political questioning?
  • …foster a collaborative environment between students, rather than a competitive one?
  • At the beginning of a course, do you ask your students how they prefer to be referred to?
  • Do students from different backgrounds share their life experiences in your classroom?
  • Do students from underrepresented groups (women, LGBTQI, migrant background, etc.) participate as much or more than the rest of the classroom?
  • Do you encourage students who normally don't participate to be more active in the classroom?
  • Have you noticed if students coming from underrepresented groups are interrupted more often in your classroom?
  • Do you allow students to question your authority as the sole source of authorised knowledge?
  • Do you offer a space/time for students to share whether students have ever felt uncomfortable? 
  • When you witness inappropriate, sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory behaviour or comments in your class, do you call out and discuss those events – either in class or with the students in question?
  • Is the language used in your class accessible for everyone in your classroom?
  • Do you take the time to explain technical or academic language before starting to use it in class?
  • Do you ask throughout the semester if people recall or understand the more  technical or academic terms in your class?
  • Is your course open to different models of learning and knowledge creation (e.g. text based, visual learning, etc)?

Syllabus and curricula creation

  • Have you taken steps to include diverse authors in your syllabus, bibliography and filmography?
  • Do you know where to find resources or suggestions of authors and artists from diverse backgrounds that may be relevant to your class?
  • When creating your syllabus, does your bibliography and filmography include contributions from people from different backgrounds (e.g. different genders, racial backgrounds, different geographical locations, etc)?
  • Does your bibliography and filmography include media from different traditions (e.g. different genres, modes of production, etc)?
  • Does your curricula critically engage with and question the ways in which film and media intersect with real-world problems and structures of oppression (e.g. sexism, racism, classism, etc)?
  • Does your curricula include sources with different lived experiences (not always coming from established academic or industry groups or experts)?
  • Are students allowed to actively collaborate to the creation of the curricula, for example through the creation of collaborative filmographies or by suggesting topics or texts to be studied?

Film and media specificities

When teaching film and media production…

  • … do all your students have access to the necessary tools and technologies to follow the course?
  • … do your classes include notable examples of creators of different backgrounds (e.g. different genders, racial backgrounds, etc)? 
  • … do you discuss and critique problematic representation tropes in some of the “classic” or contemporary films you use as examples?
  • … do you make sure that students question their own choices and processes in the production process through a gender and diversity perspective?
  • … do you encourage students to analyse if there are power imbalances in their stories, production processes, etc. based on gender, race, class, and so forth?
  • … do you encourage students to question how they are representing people from groups they don’t themselves belong to?
  • … do you question when a student’s project includes depictions of violence or discrimination against vulnerable groups, whether they are necessary for the product they are developing?
  • … do you avoid romanticizing violence and discrimination?
  • … do you ensure that students of all genders experience all roles? Including often male-dominated technical and authorial roles?