Prompts for Reflection: Identify Biases to Support Students in Anti-racist Dance Education

Before dance educators can apply practical strategies for recognizing and centering students’ cultural assets in the classroom, they’ll need to reflect upon their own intersectional identities and implicit & explicit biases.

In DEL’s upcoming course on Anti-Racist Dance Applications, it is understood that for dance educators, both reflection and action are integral to anti-racist dance education.

In the spirit of meaningful reflection, let’s consider a few prompts* as we navigate our lesson planning this year: 

    • Who are you?
    • Dance educators should consider how they see themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and more… Are there identity markers, visible or invisible, that make you who you are?
  • How invested are you in making sure that all students can relate to the curriculum, or can see themselves in their educational experience?
  • Think about the many identities, visible or invisible, that exist in your classroom. Do all students have the opportunity to relate to the curriculum in a meaningful way that acknowledges and uplifts these identities? 
  • How do you ensure a commitment to anti-racism in the classroom is ongoing?
  • Have you built a practice of reflection into your work? How do you continually take responsibility to understand how personal bias shows up in your teaching?
  • Does your course content suggest hierarchy in relation to different histories or types of movement and dance?
  • Is the syllabus pointing towards Western or Euro-centric dance as universal or foundational to all dancers’ experience? How are marginalized groups across race, class, gender, and more, present in your curriculum? 

In DEL Anti-Racist Dance Applications, teachers will be guided to establish shared language and understanding around core terminology related to their own intersectional identities. They’ll be asked to reflect on their own biases (implicit and explicit) in discussion with their colleagues.

Frederick Curry and guests will lead dance educators to explore methods to support all students in anti-racist education.

Join us for Anti-Racist Dance Applications February 3, 10, and 17

*These prompts are inspired by “Navigating anti-racism in an anti-black landscape: A dance educator’s reflection,” by Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, published in the International Journal of Education & the Arts on January 4, 2022. We look forward to sharing more of this article with DEL participants in the coming season. Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown has created Culturally Responsive Pedagogy In Dance Education, an asynchronous course we’ll offer April–May this year.