An inclusive classroom is one where ALL students feel welcome, safe to participate, and supported in their learning. Creating such an environment often requires intentional effort and reflection on the part of the instructor as inclusive educators should:
- reflect on their own beliefs and biases in order to increase their self-awareness;
- ensure that their curriculum and course materials are accessible and reflect the diversity of their students
- use a variety of pedagogical approaches to engage and support learning for all students, acknowledging that students may have different learning needs; and
- be aware of classroom dynamics and pay close attention to the learning experiences of students from diverse communities, backgrounds and identities.
The following resources can help instructors develop their skills in each area:
- Take an implicit association test with Harvard’s Project Implicit to help uncover biases.
- Many disciplinary associations have groups that focus on diversity. Check with your discipline’s association for information on addressing and supporting diversity in your field.
- Set the stage for the semester by using the first day of class to establish ground rules.
- Understand what microaggressions are and how to handle them. Sometimes this will mean navigating difficult conversations with students.
- Understand what stereotype threat is and how to mitigate it.
- Additional resources:
- Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments: Although created at the start of the pandemic and thus focused on the pivot to online learning, most of the strategies and suggestions on this CIE resource page apply to any course, regardless of modality.
- Helping Faculty Teach Diverse Students and Topics Effectively: Principles and Guidelines, Report from the SDSU Committee on Diversity, Equity and Outreach
- Inclusion by Design: Tool to help instructors self-assess inclusion (details in this Faculty Focus article)
- Creating an inclusive classroom environment, Iowa State Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
- Inclusive Teaching Resources and Strategies, University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching
- Extended list of inclusive teaching strategies, inspired by Penn State’s Schryer Institute for Teaching Excellence
- Increasing inclusivity in the classroom, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
- Suggestions for diversity syllabus statements
- Supporting students facing mental health challenges, University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching