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Inclusive Teaching Strategies

Inclusive Teaching Strategies

19 June, 2016

Inclusive teaching strategies pertain to any number of teaching methods that address the needs of students with various backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities. These strategies contribute to an overall inclusive learning environment, in which students feel equally valued.

Purpose of Inclusive Teaching Strategies

“Even though some of us might wish to conceptualize our classrooms as culturally neutral or might choose to ignore the cultural dimensions, students cannot check their sociocultural identities at the door, nor can they instantly transcend their current level of development… Therefore, it is important that the pedagogical strategies we employ in the classroom reflect an understanding of social identity development so that we can anticipate the tensions that might occur in the classroom and be proactive about them” (Ambrose et. al., 2010, p. 169-170).

Benefits of inclusive teaching:

  • You can relate with and engage with various students.
  • You are ready 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 express their ideas/thoughts/questions.
  • Students are more likely to succeed in your course through activities that support their learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds.

Teaching inclusively

    • Be reflective by asking yourself the following:
  • How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students?
  • How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?
  • How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class?
    • Incorporate diversity into your overall curriculum.
    • Be intentional about creating a safe learning environment by utilizing ground rules.
    • Be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students.
    • Utilize various teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of students with diverse learning styles, abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.
    • Use universal design principles to create accessible classes. For example, present information both orally and visually to accommodate both students with visual or auditory impairments in addition to students with various learning preferences.
    • When possible, provide flexibility in how students present their knowledge and how you check student knowledge and development. Vary your assessments (for example, incorporate a blend of collaborative and individual assignments) or allow choice in assignments (for example, give students multiple project topics to choose from, or have students determine the weight of each assignment on their final grade at the beginning of the semester.)
    • Be clear about how students will be evaluated and graded. Provide justifications.
    • Take time to evaluate the classroom climate by obtaining mid-semester feedback from students.
  • Pass out index cards during class for anonymous feedback.
  • Ask students to rate from 1-5 how comfortable they are in class. Also ask for 2 suggestions for how they could feel more comfortable.
  • Discuss your findings in the next class and share any changes you will make regarding the feedback.