Decolonising the Curriculum: The Integral Role of Educator’s Heart and Mind

In the quest for an inclusive, diverse, and truthful education system, the term ‘decolonisation’ goes beyond curriculum content. It dives deep into the psyche, into the very hearts and minds of educators. This personal journey is vital for any genuine transformation within the educational landscape. Decolonising the heart and mind requires educators to introspectively assess how racial socialisation has shaped their perceptions and influenced their pedagogical choices.

Through our RISL Programme, we have identified a number of topics that need to be reflected upon to support this deeper enquiry and the process of change.

1. Understanding Racial Socialisation and Its Impacts

Racial socialisation is the process by which individuals develop an understanding of their racial identity. This process is influenced by numerous factors, such as family, peers, media, and particularly, education. For educators racialised as white, the comfort and privilege of ‘whiteness’ often shields them from confronting the realities of racial disparities.

2. Racial Blind Spots

Those ingrained in the comfort of whiteness often remain blind to the systemic racial injustices present around them. This state of emotional equilibrium often keeps them detached from the lived experiences of racially marginalised communities.

3. Emotional Homeostasis

A by-product of racial socialisation for many racialised as white is the benefit of maintained emotional stability, despite evident racial inequities. Breaking this homeostasis is crucial to truly understand, empathise with, and address racial disparities in education. Essentially, it’s about leaning into places of discomfort and knowing that it’s when we are most uncomfortable that we experience the greatest growth.

The Journey of Decolonising the Heart

Decolonising one’s heart means confronting the deeply held biases and prejudices we may unconsciously carry. This introspective journey often entails:

  • Acknowledging Past Misgivings: Recognising how one’s upbringing, environment, and past schooling may have been steeped in colonial approaches to race.
  • Feeling the Discomfort: This journey is not comfortable. It demands the acknowledgement of privilege, the confrontation of biases, and the readiness to change.

Decolonising the Mind: A Conscious Effort

Recognising biases is a start, but the true journey lies in actively working towards change:

  • Critical Reflection: Educators must critically assess their teaching methods, content choices, and classroom interactions to ensure they’re not perpetuating colonialist perspectives.
  • Commitment to Change: Decolonising the mind is an ongoing process, demanding continuous learning, unlearning, and relearning.

The Path Forward: Leading with Authenticity

True anti-racists lead from a place of authenticity. This means not just teaching about equity, but living it, embodying it, and continuously striving for it. Educators have the responsibility to decolonise their hearts and minds, so they can usher in a new era of education that is genuinely inclusive and truthful.

Further Resources for the Journey

To deepen your understanding and commitment to decolonising education, click here for an in-depth RISL Impact report and testimonies. Delving deeper will offer you:

  • Insightful narratives from educators on their decolonisation journey.
  • Actionable strategies and resources.

Together, let’s move towards a future where education leads with heart, mind, and authenticity.


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