Inclusive Teaching Guide

Inclusive Teaching Guide

Image credit:
Elena Zhukova

Inclusive teaching encompasses teaching strategies and approaches that take into account and welcome the wide range of identities, experiences, needs, and backgrounds that students bring to the class by creating a learning environment where all students can thrive. This can include course design and teaching strategies that you regularly incorporate into your class and a mindset you adopt to be responsive to fluctuating student needs and cultural moments. 

To create an inclusive classroom environment, consider employing the following approaches to ensure all students feel welcomed, supported, and fully able to participate in your class.

Meet Students Where They Are

Students will come to your class with a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and expectations that will impact how they approach learning. As the instructor, you can create an environment where all students are engaged and able to learn by intentionally designing your course and employing teaching strategies that account for these differences and meet students where they are when they arrive in the classroom.

Foster Inclusion and Belonging

Inclusive teaching takes into account the different identities of your students and how that will have shaped their life experiences prior to entering your classroom and impacted their relationship to learning. By approaching your students with empathy and genuine curiosity, you can create a learning environment that engenders a greater sense of belonging and will improve their ability to learn. This may include reflecting on the biases you bring to the classroom and then taking the time to address those biases in your course design.

Respond to the Current Context

As many have experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptive moments, students are impacted by current events in direct and indirect ways that will affect how they experience their classes. Rather than ignoring these impacts, you can build a greater sense of community and support for students as you show your understanding of the real-world situations that impact them.

Support Accommodations

During every semester, there will be students who need legally required accommodations that are articulated in a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) from the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) and students who may need support when dealing with minor illnesses and scheduling conflicts, in addition to unexpected life events. Be prepared to address these needs and show students an understanding of their individual experiences to create a feeling of support and community in the classroom.