Cornell University’s Centre for Teaching Excellence is a resource for the academic community and offers a range of research programs and services which support teaching. Their website recently posted an article on building inclusive classrooms.
Today’s classroom is made up of students from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and learning abilities. That is why inclusive teaching strategies should be used to contribute to an inclusive learning environment where each student feels equally valued. The benefits of inclusive teaching are listed as:
· You can connect with and engage with a variety of students.
· You are prepared for “spark moments” or issues that arise when controversial material is discussed.
· Students connect with course materials that are relevant to them.
· Students feel comfortable in the classroom environment to voice their ideas/thoughts/questions.
· Students are more likely to experience success in your course through activities that support their learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds.
The article has a comprehensive list of tips on how a teacher can teach inclusivity including:
· be conscious of your own biases and their influence on your interactions with students;
· explore strategies to modify existing course materials and assignments to be more accessible to your students;
· incorporate diversity in your curriculum;
· be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students;
· use a range of teaching strategies which will accommodate the needs of students with different learning styles, abilities, backgrounds and experiences;
· be flexible on how students demonstrate their knowledge. Vary your assessments, or have students decide the weight of each assignment at the start of the semester; and/or
· ask the students for feedback and rate how comfortable they feel in your class on a scale of one to five. Discuss the finding in the next class and incorporate ways to change going forward in light of their feedback.
For more information on inclusive learning strategies, click here.