Glossary – Inclusive Teaching

Attribution: The definitions Privilege, Inclusion, Power, Diversity, Equity, Oppression, Bias, and Intersectionality are taken from Queen’s University’s fantastic open resource Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Pedagogy and Practice, Module 1: Power Privilege & Power, Lesson 2: Unpacking Language and Lesson 4: Intersectionality.

This glossary is open to contributions, comments and suggestions. Please contact talic(at)


Bias is a prejudice. It is an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment.

Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning which aims for learner agency and empowerment through the critique of power structures/imbalances and social inequalities.


In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, ability, sexual orientation, faith, socio-economic status and class. But it’s more than this. It includes differences in life experiences, learning and working styles and personality types that can be engaged to achieve excellence in teaching, learning, research, scholarship and administrative and support services.


Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all. It requires the identification and elimination of barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups. This principle acknowledges that there are historically under-served and underrepresented populations in the social areas of employment, the provision of goods and services, as well as living accommodations. Redressing unbalanced conditions is needed to achieve equality of opportunity for all groups.


Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity, where each person is valued and provided with the opportunity to participate fully in creating a successful and thriving community. It also means creating value from the distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives of all members of our community, allowing us to leverage talent and foster both individual and organisational excellence.


Intersectionality promotes an understanding of human beings as shaped by the interaction of different social locations (e.g., ‘race’/ethnicity, Indigeneity, gender, gender identity, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, migration status, religion). These interactions occur within a context of connected systems and structures of power (e.g., laws, policies, governments and institutions) creating interdependent forms of privilege and oppression.

“Liberate My Degrees”

“Liberate My Degree” is a student-led campaign for inclusion at Higher Education Institutions in the UK including Goldsmiths. This is reflected in the Goldsmiths, Learning, Teaching, Assessment Strategy 2017-2021 with a commitment to “challenge the white, middle-class, ableist, male-dominated curricula that are prevalent across the Higher Education sector, and to centre the work of marginalised scholars on race, sexuality, gender and disability within academia.”


Power is unequally distributed globally and in society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualised as power over other individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organising for progressive social change. 


Privilege can be defined as a group of unearned cultural, legal, social, and institutional rights extended to a group based on their social group membership. Individuals with privilege are considered to be the normative group, leaving those without access to this privilege invisible, unnatural, deviant, or just plain wrong. Most of the time, these privileges are automatic and most individuals in the privileged  group are unaware of them. Some people who can “pass” as members of the privileged group might have access to some levels of privilege.


Oppression is the systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as embedded within individual consciousness. Oppression fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures that saturate most aspects of life in our society.