Perspectives in Curriculum

As educators, it’s critical for us to reflect on the roles we play in the classroom. Teachers are often positioned as the “experts” on a subject, and this expertise is further solidified as these individuals have the power to create the learning materials (open or not) that are used in classrooms around the world. The impact of our stories in curriculum is two-fold: not only do we determine what forces and individuals have had influence on a discipline, but we also hold the power to shape the minds of those students and scholars who might take it further.

Dr. Tadashi Dozono notes that there is “inevitably some sort of bias and ideological influence going into how this narrative is being presented” — partly due to our own positionality as individuals as well as the contexts that have informed our own educational development. We must be very cognizant of how power shapes discourse, for instance in the language we use in our learning materials — how are minoritized groups mentioned or depicted? (Dozono). Who are these stories written for? (Krawec). Is it enough to have images and pictures of different groups, or can we invite speakers and others to the classroom or to contribute to content so there is no further erasure of critical perspectives?

Pause & Reflect: History writing as a dinner party

“We have this idea of history as a series of knowable events but think about something as simple as a dinner party you were at last year. Think about how different your memories of that event are from your friends who were also there. Even if you all kept diaries and wrote down what happened. You’ll have evidence, maybe somebody kept the bill which details the things everyone ordered but that bill won’t say anything about what each person thought about their own plate or that of somebody else. If you tried some of the food from another plate, which appetizes your shared and what you shied away from.

That’s history. We have receipts and photographs, recollections and diaries. These things help us to create stories and most of these stories are things we have collectively agreed upon. Stories that are are reinforced because they get taught in school and written in books and made into films and plays.”

— Patty Krawec

Think of whose voices and stories can be legitimized in educational materials, and whose accounts may be silenced. About whose voices dominate a discipline. About how individuals and groups get characterized. And how the c for instance in required college courses about History. Think of how you could be part of a movement and story that changes this all!

Look beyond performative inclusion of marginalized perspectives in your learning materials, but rather embody in your practice a commitment towards reshaping your discipline. This means updating textbooks, but also rethinking course outcomes, shaping more engaging assignments, adjusting your assessment scale, and more. What you teach and how you teach it matter significantly.

In the podcast episode below, Dr. Tadashi Dozono shares his research on epistemic violence in world history classrooms and curriculum. The podcast host Josie Gray and her guest talk about textbooks, standardized curriculum, queer theory, the power of grammar, and allowing students to bring their own ways of knowing into the classroom.

Tadashi Dozono is an assistant professor of history/social science education at California State University Channel Islands. Through cultural studies, ethnic studies, queer theory, and critical theory, Tadashi’s research emphasizes accountability towards the experiences of marginalized students by examining the production of knowledge in high school social studies classrooms. Read the transcript for this episode.

Action Plan: Grow your Professional Network

This activity encourages you to reflect on the existing restrictions or barriers preventing you or your curriculum from having the impact it could have. It asks you to brainstorm ideas and solutions based on the barriers you identify.
The final step involves you to connect with someone new and hear their story so this perspective can inform your practice.
Find an editable worksheet here.


Gray, J. (2021). Epistemic violence in world history curriculum with dr. Tadashi Dozono. Open Knowledge Spectrums Podcast. Retrieved October 22, 2022, from

Krawec, P. (2022, July 19). The stories we tell about history. Aambe: where books collide. Retrieved October 23, 2022, from


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Making Ripples: A Guidebook to Challenge Status Quo in OER Creation Copyright © 2023 by Rebus Community (Kaitlin Schilling, Apurva Ashok, Jördis Weilandt) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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