Innovation Fosters Inclusive Teaching

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a world-class reputation, known for being on the forefront of technology and innovation. The prestigious learning institution is also working to stay abreast of progressive, inclusive teaching methods or “inclusive pedagogies.”

Inclusive pedagogies are classroom practices and teaching strategies that include, engage, and support all students.

For example, in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, instructors were trained in small group techniques, to bring out the most out of seminar sessions. By training the instructors, MIT has seen a noticeable shift in engagement. Where students were attending and even giving seminars unprepared and unengaged, instructors report students now exhibit less anxiety and a more thorough understanding of the material.  “Students are more engaged and have a greater sense of camaraderie with their classmates. Furthermore, instructors have found that lessons are more effective and enjoyable for all involved.”

In MIT’s Education Program, students learn about inclusive pedagogies by implementing them in real life. Student teachers design games, teach lessons, and make presentations in schools, to give them the firsthand experience of being both teacher and student. They observe not only the diverse backgrounds of the students themselves, but also the diversity of the ways in which students learn.

Inquiry-based learning is another approach to educating teachers. What could happen if inclusion was incorporated into every step of the learning process? One MIT instructor cited “the lack of inclusionary perspective in pedagogy as one of the causes for disparity in STEM fields.”

In response to this inequality, the class examined course-based undergraduate research, as well scholarly work in the field of equity. Considered together, MIT says “these areas of study could inform one another and lead to new, innovative approaches in inquiry-based learning.”

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