Inclusive Teaching Principles, Strategies, & Resources
CRLT (Center for Research on Learning & Teaching at U-M) defines inclusive teaching in this way:
Inclusive teaching involves deliberately cultivating a learning environment where all learners are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel valued and supported in their learning. Such teaching attends to learner identities and seeks to change the ways systemic inequities shape dynamics in teaching-learning spaces, affect individuals’ experiences of those spaces, and influence course and curriculum design.
Critically engaging difference acknowledges students’ different identities and experiences; leveraging student diversity as an asset for learning. Some strategies for Implementing “Critical Engagement of Difference” in your Teaching Practice include:
- Acknowledge the ways that campus or world events may be creating barriers to students’ capacity to engage in coursework, or their sense of being welcomed and valued; acknowledge the differential impacts developments may have on different students.
- Deliberately choose course materials and activities with a range of student circumstances in mind (e.g., physical abilities and disabilities, financial and technological resources, time commitments such as work or family care obligations).
- Additional Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Critical Engagement of Difference
Structured interaction involves developing protocols or processes that support equitable access and contributions to interactive elements of the learning environment and disrupt patterns that reinforce systemic inequities. Some strategies for Implementing “Structured Interactions” in your Teaching Practice include:
- In facilitated discussions, use strategies for including a range of voices: e.g., take a queue, ask to hear from those who have not spoken, wait until several hands are raised to call on anyone, or use paired or small group conversations to seed larger discussion.
- During long-term group or team projects, provide a process for students to reflect upon the team work/dynamics and provide constructive feedback to one another while the project is still underway.
- Additional Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Structured Interactions
Transparency is clearly communicating with students about expectations and norms; explaining purpose, task, and criteria for learning activities. Some strategies for Implementing “Transparency” in your Teaching Practice include:
- Explicitly communicate the purpose, task, and assessment criteria for graded assignments. Also identify any assumed capacities, abilities, skills, or prior knowledge embedded in your assignments or course learning activities, and connect students to resources that help them bolster those skills if necessary.
- Offer guidance on how students might prioritize various course tasks or requirements and allocate their time strategically.
- Additional Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Transparency
Academic Belonging is about cultivating students’ sense of connection to and ability to see themselves in the discipline or profession, your course, or a community of scholars (including your class or campus). Some strategies for Implementing “Academic Belonging” in your Teaching Practice include:
- Learn and use students’ names and pronouns, and encourage them to learn and use one another’s, accurately pronounced and spelled. Be aware that what students choose to be called may differ from the name that appears on your class roster.
- As a way of validating the range of backgrounds students bring, help students connect their prior knowledge or skills to new learning (e.g., when introducing a new topic, ask students to reflect on what they already know about the topic, or invite them to identify relevant skills they bring from different domains).
- Additional Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Academic Belonging
Flexibility means responding and adapting to students’ changing and diverse circumstances; engaging empathetically with student needs, both emerging and persistent; and balancing intentional design and commitment to providing accommodations. Some strategies for Implementing “Flexibility” in your Teaching Practice include:
- Solicit feedback from students about what teaching approaches or technologies work best for their learning and be willing to make adjustments accordingly when you can.
- Build in opportunities for student choice: e.g., flexible or self-paced deadlines for assignments if possible, multiple options for topics or modalities for assignments, optional opportunities for instructor or peer feedback on drafts.
- Additional Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Flexibility