Group of college students in a classroom.Inclusivity in the Classroom Overview

Inclusive teaching refers to a variety of teaching approaches that strive to address the needs of all students. Inclusive teaching provides a learning experience that allows students from all backgrounds, learning styles and abilities to be successful. Inclusive teaching strategies contribute to an inclusive learning environment in which all students feel equally valued. Inclusivity in the classroom implies that the classroom environment is one in which all students feel that their contributions and perspectives are equally valued and respected (Cal Poly).

Strategies

Make it Personal

Provide opportunities for students to share their own experiences and perspectives. Students learn from each other and the various perspectives and existing knowledge their fellow students bring to the table. Activities such as a fishbowl activity or reverse circle discussion activity can encourage and direct these challenging conversations.

Include Various Perspectives

Provide a variety of perspectives on the topics you teach. For instance, literature that comes from only one perspective lacks depth. Varied perspectives might offer new ideas and unique views. One example would be to teach a World War II class from an American historian’s perspective only. The look into that historic moment will be rather narrow. Include literature from the experiences of other groups such as concentration camp survivors, German foot soldiers, French resistance workers, and Vichy government officials. As much as possible provide content from diverse perspectives or created by individuals from differing backgrounds.

Know Your Students

Get to know your students. Invest time to focus on getting to know your students. The impact may surprise you. The simple gesture of addressing a student by their name demonstrates care and concern. You can do this through classroom icebreakers (.pdf).

Watch for Problematic Assumptions

Problematic assumptions and implicit biases can manifest themselves in the classroom. Developing awareness of the assumptions and biases can help develop a positive classroom. Take an implicit bias test.

Respect Diverse People

Establish respect for the values of diverse peoples by using specific examples. Examples that demonstrate a respect and appreciation for diverse peoples and cultures. Use language that is gender neutral or takes into consideration the gender identity of students.

Respect Diverse Talents

Students not only come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, race, and gender, but students also bring different talents and styles of learning. All students should have the opportunity to learn in a way that works for them and they should be able to showcase their talents.

Resources

Diving Deeper/Research