The aim of the sessions is to think about how we can use positionality statements (akin to those used in research) with our students, to help challenge the power dynamics in the classroom. This would seek to ensure that students know what different lenses are shaping the information they are receiving, and to empower them to challenge us and build a shared learning space. It draws upon indigenous studies principles of self-location and storytelling to understand our own perspectives on a deeper level. Building upon engaged pedagogy and the work of bell hooks it allows us to build a community and recognize that this takes time in the classroom.

Resources required:

  • Time dedicated to constructing statements and theoretical pedagogy in the classroom.
  • Engagement from staff.

Available evidence of impact:

  • Student engagement.
  • Shift of attitudes.
  • Staff engagement and commitment across the institution.

Links to available resources:

Implementation and potential challenges:

  • Use sample templates and think about in relation to own subject areas.
  • The process of creating such statements takes time and I started by presenting the concepts and ideas in a two hour session allowing space for discussion and reflection. Following this a series of sessions on writing together as a staff team can take place as the positionality statements take shape. I recommend having three different statements, one for teaching, one for research, and a private one that you do not share but can reflect on elements of your identity and position as they change. Our positionality is fluid and evolving, and therefore a positionality statement may not always be useful to share with students in a way that is concrete but you may reflect constantly as you teach different topics for example.
  • Involvement in this process requires a level of vulnerability and openness for the staff to share such personal elements of themselves with students and encourages open reflective space to process learning and not just take in information.

How to Use:

  • Use sample positionality templates and think about in relation to your own subject area.
  • Run a training session in which colleagues can work to produce a ‘positionality statement’ for use in their own teaching.
  • Funding for training.