Introduction

Included in this guidebook are a series of resources and “better/best-practice” guides for teaching, including some background and primers on the debates shaping these practices, which were initially researched and developed to help support faculty (both part-time and full-time) teaching courses in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality program at Concordia University. Since publishing the first version of Better Practices (2021), I have come to realize that these resources are relevant to those teaching across fields of study beyond the area of sexuality studies. Hesitant to codify pedagogical practices as “good” or “bad,” I use the language of “better practices” to provide resources, support, and ideas for faculty across disciplines to test out different pedagogical techniques for sustainable, inclusive, and equitable classrooms. What you will find included in this guidebook are strategies and entry points for teaching and curriculum development that can help anchor how we each navigate the rapidly shifting terrain of teaching across our respective fields and in response to student needs.

This work is also informed and supported by my research on gender and sexuality pedagogies, including the contributors to my edited collection, Reading the Room: Lessons on Pedagogy and Curriculum from the Gender and Sexuality Studies Classroom (Concordia University Press 2024). You will find several of the authors from Reading the Room cited and referenced throughout the guidebook.

The guidebook includes common challenges emergent in a variety of classrooms, especially those in gender and sexuality studies, many of which have been informed and identified by students. The resources in Better Practices address the intersectional ways that teaching and learning converge with differences across social locations, subjectivities, identities, and experiences. Many of the practices and prompts outlined in the document aim to support inclusive classrooms beyond the specific expertise that you bring to your teaching already. Using prompts around common challenges, conflicts, and debates in teaching, the guide outlines some of the strategies and resources currently available to the best of our knowledge on how to prioritize sustainable and equitable classroom practices.

Sections of the document also include recommendations and topics developed by two Concordia projects: The Indigenous Directions Leadership Council’s workshop series Pîkiskwêtân (2021) and the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s Mapping Project report [PDF] (Tshuma and Hadley 2020).

Please consider this a “living document,” which means that new versions of the Open Educational Resource will be published as needed as new standards, practices, and resources become available. The first draft, published in 2021, was written in collaboration with a former student, Myloe Martel-Perry, and in consultation with faculty and students at Concordia. The second version was redesigned and developed alongside two other students, Linneah Reynolds and Margot Thorseth, who helped expand the research for the guidebook and integrate most of the interactive features, including adapting the material for Pressbooks.

My goal for this guidebook is for students and faculty alike to help build and improve the contents included in the years to come. Please get in touch with me (see contact info) if you have suggestions or feedback. If you end up finding these materials helpful and/or use these in your teaching, departments, and otherwise, I would also appreciate hearing from you so I can better understand the needs and interests surrounding these practices.

Natalie Kouri-Towe

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Better Practices in the Classroom by Natalie Kouri-Towe and Myloe Martel-Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book