"Teaching inclusively means embracing student diversity in all forms -- race, ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic background, ideology, even personality traits like introversion -- as an asset. It means designing and teaching courses in ways that foster talent in all students, but especially those who come from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education."
(Sathy & Hogan, 2019)
In various ways, student backgrounds impact the way they learn and interact in the classroom. Investigate and understand the range of diversity in your classroom.
Learn about your students and make space for them to bring their whole selves to class
Pre-Class Survey Example Questions
What is your interest in taking this course? Or Why are you enrolled in this course?
What is your experience with this subject matter/discipline/these specific concepts:______ ?
What do you hope to learn about in this course? What is one question about ____ that you would like to answer this quarter?
Please tell me anything I should know that can help your engagement and learning. For example, what name and pronouns do you use? Do you need to sit in toward the front of the classroom to hear/see better? Do you thrive in small groups but in not making formal presentations? Do your religious practices make it difficult to have study sessions on particular days? …
- 1 in 4 adults in the US have a disability (CDC)
- at least 5.6% adults identify as LGBTQ+ (The Williams Institute)
- In the US (2019 Census estimate data):
18.5% is Latino/a or Hispanic, 13.4% is Black, 5.9% Asian, 13.6% foreign born, 10.5% live in poverty...
- In Canada (2016 Census)
27.2% is considered 'visible minority', of this, 5.4% is South Asian, 4.6% is Chinese, 3% is Black, 10.1% are low income....
4.9% are indigenous peoples
Account for and Acknowledge Diversity
Consider these questions to create a strategy for diversifying your content:
Do I want to add diverse scholars and explore with students why they have traditionally be excluded? (Additive)
Do I want to show the contributions marginalized scholars have made to the central ideas of my discipline? (Contributory)
Do I want to transform my course, centering the perspectives of those who have been marginalized? (Transformative)
Placing diverse students in the same environment will not necessarily reap the benefits of inclusion or promote equity.
Intentionally activate diversity
Create classroom norms to create a space in which most students will take risks. (see example below)
Vary interactions and intentionally provide opportunities for new ideas and perspectives.
Whole class interaction
Student to Student interaction
Various kinds of input
Discussion Norms Example
1. stay engaged
2. speak your truth
3. listen for understanding
4. experience discomfort
5. honor confidentiality
6. expect/accept non-closure
(Adapted from Singleton, 2015)
It is essential to understand one's own positionality, biases, and limitations as well as the social, political, and historical placement of the classroom. Any and all of these elements impact the way we all enter the classroom and prepare ourselves to teach or learn.
Awareness of Self
What are your privileges and how are you oppressed?
How does your self-identification differ from how others perceive you?
Awareness of the impact of inequality on learning
Awareness of the socio-political context of this moment