‘Decolonising the Curriculum: Promoting Cultural Humility’: a trainee-developed tool


A visual representation of the 'decolonisation tool'
A visual representation of the 'decolonisation tool'

Last year five 2nd year trainees were tasked with considering how the programme could decolonise our curriculum as part of their Service Improvement Poster Presentation (SIPP) assignment. The SIPP involves trainees working in small groups, with each group assigned a service improvement ‘issue’ which becomes the focus of their work together over three days. While typically it has been NHS services that have proposed these issues requiring improvement, in this proposal the service was the Lancaster DClinPsy programme. The proposal asked the trainees to develop a strategy for how the programme can decolonise the curriculum, with the aim of producing some guidelines or a ‘roadmap’ of how we can approach this.

The project began with reading around what other courses and decolonisation groups were already doing to decolonise curriculums at the time; there were a number of ‘plans’ and general ‘guidelines’ about how this might happen, but what seemed to be obviously missing were practical tools and pragmatic ideas of how to actually put any of these plans into action. Without this, there was a struggle to see how courses, educators and learners could be accountable for decolonisation work. This prompted a more practical approach to the work, putting the emphasis of responsibility for decolonisation at all levels. The group of trainees aimed to create a tool that might help those aiming to decolonise the curriculum, to critically appraise and reflect on the origin, journey and practice of psychological theory and the impact this might have on marginalized groups.  

What resulted was the beginnings of a template tool, titled ‘Decolonising the Curriculum: Promoting Cultural Humility’. We would like to share this template with trainees and staff across other programmes and beyond, so it can be adapted and developed further; please feel free to use this in whatever way is helpful.

Amy Burgess, Hayley Butler, Heather Havlin, Sophie Holding, Corinna Milroy, Trainee Clinical Psychologists, & Clare Dixon, Clinical Tutor.

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