Dominant Narratives – Equitable Teaching

Dominant Narratives

Dominant Narratives


This activity guide provides a discussion-based lesson plan on dominant narratives. A dominant narrative is an explanation or story that is told in service of the dominant social group’s interests and ideologies. It usually achieves dominance through repetition, the apparent authority of the speaker (often accorded to speakers who represent the dominant social groups), and the silencing of alternative accounts. Because dominant narratives are so normalized through their repetition and authority, they have the illusion of being objective and apolitical, when in fact they are neither. This discussion guide will help students recognize dominant narratives, how they are perpetuated, and how and whom they benefit/harm.

Activity Goals:

  • To help students understand what dominant narratives are and how they function.

  • To encourage students to think critically about the dominant narratives they take for granted.

Application in a STEM Course:

Women, persons with disabilities, blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives are underrepresented in STEM fields. As a result, the dominant narrative in a STEM course could be from the perspective of white males. In an effort to promote inclusivity in STEM, it is critical that dominant narratives are explored and understood in order to acknowledge and address them in the classroom. In a study conducted by CRLT, students reported that classroom climate significantly influenced their decisions to stay in or leave STEM disciplines.

Dominant Narratives Activity Guide:

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