The Research Basis for Inclusive Teaching

How do we know inclusive teaching is effective teaching?

At CRLT, we use “inclusive teaching” as an umbrella term to name a complex network of pedagogical issues and strategies. Drawing from a large body of research, much of it foundational scholarship on teaching and learning, we can feel confident that learning outcomes are improved when teachers (1) attend to student differences and (2) take deliberate steps to ensure that all students, across differences in academic and social background as well as physical and cognitive abilities, feel welcome, valued, challenged, and supported in succeeding in the field of study.

The evidence basis for inclusive teaching in this sense includes research on:

  • the relation between classroom climate and student learning (as reviewed by Ambrose et al in chapter cited below)

  • stereotype threat as a barrier to academic success (Aronson; Steele; more here)

  • social belonging as key to student learning and persistence (e.g., Walton & Cohen)

  • contributors to student persistence and retention in STEM fields (CRLT Occasional Paper #25)

  • best practices for utilizing student groups and teams (as reviewed in CRLT Occasional Paper #29 -- focused on STEM fields but relevant in all disciplines)

  • the benefits of cooperative learning (as reviewed in the Johnson meta-analysis cited below)

  • the negative consequences of identity-based microaggressions for learning (e.g., Solorzano et al)

  • mindsets about intelligence and their relation to student persistence (e.g., Yeager and Dweck; Paunescu)

  • student development, including development of reflective judgment and intercultural maturity (e.g., King)

  • best practices for difficult dialogues in higher ed (more here)

  • Universal Design principles (National Center on Universal Design for Learning)

  • the importance for learning of instructor transparency about course learning objectives and assessment criteria (more here; see also Eddy and Hogan)

Almost all of this research directly speaks to the fact that what we call inclusive teaching practices are helpful for all students’ learning but especially beneficial to students who are members of groups underrepresented in their fields or traditionally underserved by institutions of higher education.

 

Selected scholarship pertaining to student diversity and inclusive teaching

Ambrose, S., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., & Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 6: “Why do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning?”

Eddy, S.L. & Hogan, K.A. (2014). Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work? CBE--Life Sciences Education, 13, 453-468.

Gurin, P., Dey, E.L., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3), 330-366.

Johnson, D., Johnson R., & Smith, K. (2014). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 85-118.

Kardia, D. & Saunders, S. Creating Inclusive College Classrooms. http://crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p3_1

King, P.M. and Baxter Magolda, M.B. (2005). A developmental model of intercultural maturity. Journal of College Student Development 46(6), 571-592.

Nagda, B.A., Gurin, P., Sorensen, N., Zuniga, X. (2009). Evaluating intergroup dialogue: Engaging diversity for personal and social responsibility. Diversity & Democracy 12(1), 4-6.

Page, S. (2007). The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Solorzano, D., Ceja M., & Yosso, T. (2000). Critical Race Theory, Racial Microaggressions, and Campus Racial Climate: The Experiences of African American College Students. The Journal of Negro Education 69(1/2), 60-73.

Steele, C. (2011). Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. Reprint ed. New York: Norton.

Svinicki, M. & McKeachie, W.J. (2011). Active Learning: Group-Based Learning. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. (13th ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Tanner, K.D. (2013). Structure Matters: Twenty-One Teaching Strategies to Promote Student Engagement and Cultivate Classroom Equity. CBE--Life Sciences Education 12(3): 322–331.

Walton, G.M. & Cohen G.L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science 331(6023), 1447-1451.

Wlodkowski, R.J. & Ginsberg, M.B. (1995). Diversity and Motivation: Culturally Responsive Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Yeager, D.S. & Dweck, C.S. (2012). Mindsets that Promote Resilience: When Students Believe that Personal Characteristics can be Developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302–314.

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