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A signpost indicating the way to various buildings of Freie Unviersität Berlin.

A signpost indicating the way to various buildings of Freie Unviersität Berlin.
Image Credit: CC Jamina Diel/Lian Hüntelmann BY-NC-SA

In addition to the recommendations for building your skills, here are some guidelines for gender- and diversity-conscious teaching. They tie into your interest in integrating gender and diversity in your teaching. Such an endeavor both presupposes and cultivates an attitude that views existing problems and hierarchies critically and hopes to change them – a critical attitude towards power:

Gender and diversity equality in teaching is about acknowledging the range of difference among students and lecturers without such differencing creating disadvantages. It is also about dismantling discrimination and inequality. Instead of discounting diversity, it reveals everyone’s strengths. The General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) lists six categories of prohibited discrimination: “on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual ...

When you teach, it is with specific preconceptions about the people you are addressing, the students. For example, you might have assumptions about whether students can read and understand texts in a language besides English (or German). You may assume they possess or lack particular skills. You can also consider whether your students have experienced racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination. Alternatively, you might have prior assumptions about their average age. However, “you ...

Universities are obligated by law to treat all students equally. This is legally grounded in the German constitution as well as federal and state laws. The mandate of equal treatment is closely tied to the commitment to guarantee equality and fairness while recognizing different walks of life and sets of experiences. Social inequalities and power relations do not vanish at the gates of the university; they also affect students unevenly. For this reason, it is not fair to ignore students’ ...

To take action against discrimination, we must first perceive it and understand it as a problem – this especially holds for those who are not directly affected. In the domain of higher education, an assortment of studies and progress reports have been published on such issues as racism, transphobia, and sexism in the university and the workplace. When students have trouble reconciling their studies with paid work due to visa regulations, when lecturers use masculine terms by default, ...

Students differ and have varying interests and needs. To ensure everyone a successful education, the university needs to take these differing needs seriously. This can be achieved through policies that expect difference rather than assuming a common norm. For example, students who also have jobs, have family obligations, or who travel to campus in a wheelchair or on crutches particularly rely on having a schedule that is compatible with other aspects of their lives. Flexible policies such ...

The cultures of disciplines reflect societal norms, often unwittingly. These cultures may be gendered (through a normative gender division of labor) or may view their subjects from an exclusively Eurocentric perspective. When these viewpoints are taken to be the only possible objective and true approaches to the subject matter, the resulting knowledge neglects the multiplicity of possible perspectives and raises the risk of tunnel vision. Intersectional, gender- and diversity-conscious ...

Gender- and diversity conscious teaching aims to overcome existing inequalities and discrimination in the context of higher education. When dealing with inequalities, we must name them – that is the only way to counteract them in their specificity. This requires striking a healthy balance. On the one hand, discrimination should be called out. The underrepresentation of women, people of color, and people with visible disabilities in decision-making roles in business, the political system, ...

Gender- and diversity-conscious teaching can address gender and diversity both implicitly and explicitly . The Course Content and Methods sections give suggestions for both approaches. As a matter of principle, especially when raising these topics explicitly, keep in mind that students – as well as lecturers – are usually affected by inequality and discrimination unevenly. Students who have never experienced racist or sexist discrimination sit alongside classmates who are ...

Traditional patterns and roles (such as gender stereotypes) in teaching are reproduced in various conscious and unconscious ways. Here are some examples of stereotypes and discrimination: Using discriminatory language; selecting discriminatory images and other learning material or course content Assigning work based on stereotypical roles Recognizing the same performance inconsistently Granting trust and support unequally Granting time and financial resources unequally, for example ...

Repeatedly, students are singled out as “special” deviations from the norm. This occurs when people fixate on an “exotic” background, unusual needs or abilities, or fundamental difference ascribed to them. It doesn’t matter whether these singled-out attributes are considered positive or negative. However, in most cases this process of Othering – extracting individuals from a common norm – devalues the “other” and inflates the value of one’s own group. In your ...

As a lecturer, you can help to shape a university free of discrimination and a teaching practice that pays attention to gender and diversity – but you do not bear sole responsibility. You can acknowledge and expand your options for action. But you shouldn’t be left alone to confront this task. Advisory services at Berlin universities and external institutions are listed in the Resources section. To create resources that you need but do not exist yet, you and your department ...

As Urmila Goel has written, professional behavior that critically confronts social power relations and inequalities is faced with naming these circumstances in order to respond to them. People can only modify their ignorance, prejudices, and resentments once they have acknowledged them. This almost always happens in the presence of people who are directly affected by these resentments. The idea of error-friendliness is partly about preventing those who personally experience exclusion ...

There can be a considerable gap between aspirations and reality, a gap that you as a lecturer cannot bridge. Yet you can try to acknowledge it and live with it. Non-discrimination functions as an affirmative norm that can never be fully attained but that guides our actions. In view of the high demands on their time as well as structural inequalities that exist outside teaching, teaching professionals sometimes find themselves in the paradoxical position of seeking to challenge the very ...

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Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz.

Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

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