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Open Access Decolonising the classroom

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Taking the concept of credibility as a focal point, this article explores inclusive and decolonised classroom dynamics in the Dutch universities. Though much has been written on diversity and decolonisation in higher education, from curricula to epistemology to recruitment, there is a dearth in the discourse when it comes to decolonisation of classrooms. Drawing on Sally Haslanger’s conceptualisation of ‘credibility’ in classroom dynamics (2014), I focus on the intricate ways of classroom interaction which can usher those present in retracting from participating and engaging in class due to micro-aggressions, intimidation, or oppression in any form. As class participation and engagement are pivotal to success in the current format of academia that values individual participation and visibility, especially so in the Humanities, special attention to credibility addresses how classrooms can be transformed into inclusive teaching environments for all. The main question of this paper is: how are inclusive classrooms, in which every attendee feels credible as a knowledge producer, created and sustained? Classroom dynamics are complicated when both visibly and invisibly ‘marked’ attendees join the classroom, as power dynamics, inherent biases, and (micro-)aggressions can become hurdles in the learning process. It is the coloniality (Quijano & Ennis, 2000) of the classroom and the overrepresentation of Man (McKittrick, 2014) which I first analyse to demonstrate the need for decolonisation of the classroom. Then, I show the innovative investigative lens that the concept of credibility can offer in analysing classrooms through an illustration. Based on this exploration of classroom credibility, tools to evaluate the coloniality of classrooms and strategies to decolonise the classroom may be formulated.
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Keywords: classroom dynamics; credibility; decolonisation; diversity; epistemic trust; higher education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • Het Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies is het forum voor de wetenschappelijke problematisering van sekse in relatie tot andere vormen van discriminatie en uitsluiting zoals etniciteit, seksualiteit, klasse of leeftijd. Er worden artikelen in gepubliceerd over gendervraagstukken vanuit alle relevante disciplines die een wetenschappelijke bijdrage leveren aan debatten over gender en intersectionaliteit in Nederland en Vlaanderen. Het tijdschrift is een interdisciplinair medium op het kruispunt van maatschappij-, cultuur-, geestes-, gezondheids- en natuurwetenschappen. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar en biedt wetenschappelijke artikelen en daarnaast ook interviews, boekrecensies, discussiedossiers en opiniërende artikelen in het Nederlands en Engels. Artikelen worden dubbelblind beoordeeld door externe deskundigen.

    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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