Inclusive Teaching

Promoting the Success of Students Who Are Parents

By: Lyss Shumaker

In this guest post, our partners from the Student Parent Excellence Committee offer key insights into the experiences of student parents and strategies that can be applied in the classroom to support their excellence. To learn more about this cross-campus committee, please visit:  http://www.cew.umich.edu/advocacy-initiatives/student-parents/ 

Father and daughter picture

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many instructors have found themselves balancing a disproportionate workload, where the intersection of work and personal boundaries are blending together. The current remote learning landscape has also given instructors a window into students’ lives and the complex commitments they are balancing–especially those with caregiver responsibilities, including parents. Based on financial aid data alone, we know that there are over 700 student parents actively enrolled at U-M.  This blog post will provide context for the challenges student parents face in the classroom and strategies for how you can support the learning of student parents enrolled in your courses.  

The U.S. Presidential Inauguration: Teaching Strategies and Resources

U-M campus aerial photoAs our campus prepares to begin the Winter 2021 semester, the country prepares for the inauguration of its 46th President. The inauguration often signals the closure of our election season for at least another two years. This year, however, the inauguration comes as one more uncertain and potentially volatile event in an election season marked by unprecedented attacks on our democratic processes. The most recent example of this was the violent and unnerving disruption of the ratification proceedings on January 6th. Though the mob ultimately failed to alter the results of those proceedings, it succeeded in further amplifying the white nationalist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and anti-Black politics and actions that have profoundly shaped this election season. The attack on the capitol hangs heavy for many as we approach the inauguration on January 20th. At CRLT, we want to acknowledge more specifically that events such as the attack on the capitol and upcoming inauguration are important context for the beginning of the Winter 2021 semester and are likely shaping the expectations and plans of students and instructors as you prepare to re-enter the classroom. We share this brief blog post to encourage you to keep the following in mind as you finish final preparations for your courses:

After Election 2020: Moving from Reaction to Action

This is the third of a three-part series by CRLT and the Ginsberg Center outlining strategies and resources that instructors can use to plan, frame, and facilitate conversations about the 2020 Election. 

Pathways to civic engagement logoIn Part 1 of this CRLT/Ginsberg Election Resource series, we suggest that instructors from every discipline can address the 2020 Election in their courses in order to help students build and practice fundamental skills required for democracy. In Part 2, we outline a step-by-step process for making decisions about how to structure and facilitate an actual classroom conversation about the election.  

After the election, students may experience a range of reactions that may impact their ‘bandwidth’ for learning and participation in your course. Regardless of political affiliation, students may be focused on managing the impacts of the election on their own lives and thinking about ‘what happens next.’ One way that you can support students in this moment is to highlight civic engagement as an ongoing, active practice that includes, but is not limited to, voting in an election.

CRLT Support for Remote Teaching

COVID-19 IllustrationU-M has now officially transitioned to entirely remote instruction, but we know that instructors’ process of figuring out how to navigate this enormous change will be ongoing. CRLT consultants are available to provide ideas, tools, and resources as you think through ways to shift your teaching methods and expectations -- and then rethink them as the trial and error process unfolds. We know that instructors will continue to navigate a series of pedagogical, technological, and social-emotional challenges in their teaching for the remainder of the term, and we’re committed to providing support for U-M’s teachers throughout. Following public health recommendations for, CRLT staff are primarily working and consulting remotely. But there are many ways you can get in touch with us to arrange a phone call, video meeting, email exchange, or online chat:

COVID-19 and Your Teaching

COVID-19 Illustration

​​As the situation around the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to evolve, we know that many instructors are looking for resources to prepare for or respond to a range of teaching challenges that might emerge. Here are some topics to consider and resources to know about during this uncertain time: 

Helping Students Navigate Ramadan and Final Exams

RamadanWhile final exams are a stressful time for all U-M students, in the Winter 2020 semester, Muslim students will face an additional set of challenges. This year, the Muslim holiday of Ramadan will fall during finals (the full holiday runs from April 23-May 23), and students observing the holiday will be fasting from dawn to sunset. For many students this entails maintaining concentration and energy for exams that might fall late in the afternoon after waking up before dawn to have an early meal; having to postpone breaking the fast until after taking a late exam; or losing sleep while studying late into the night after breaking the fast.

Teaching in Tumultuous Times

Australia Bush Fire credit - Fredrick VanrenterghemWe wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in tumultuous times. The campus community is beginning yet another new term amidst a range of distressing events:  from hate-based violence in the U.S. and around the world (including but certainly not limited to a series of anti-Semitic attacks in New York, a church shooting in Texas, and violence against Muslims in India), to environmental disasters in many parts of the world, to escalating conflict between the US and Iran. As we return from the break to the regular work of teaching and learning, many people in our community are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our nation and world. CRLT regularly re-posts the guidance below because it is important to remember that these emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in our intellectual community. 

Gender Inclusive Practices for Your Teaching

Screen capture image of Wolverine Access interface for designating pronouns University of Michigan students identify across a full spectrum of gender identities and gender expressions.  As instructors, how can we cultivate gender-inclusive teaching and learning environments -- that is, environments that invite the full participation of students of all genders and respond to the harmful impact of gender stereotyping and misgendering on student learning?  

Instructors in any discipline can promote gender inclusivity in their courses by trying out some or all of the strategies below. This list is not exhaustive and represents just some of the many intentional practices you might incorporate into your curriculum, policies, classroom facilitation, and interactions with students. 

Transparent Teaching: A Focus of This Year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan Series

What does ‘transparency’ mean in a teaching-learning context, and why is it a key principle featured in many CRLT workshops and resources about inclusive teaching? image of campus with many different students walking At its simplest, transparency means clearly communicating with students about course expectations and norms. As outlined below, such transparency can lead to more equitable learning experiences. That’s why transparency is the focus for this year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan May workshop series. (Registration available here; for more details about both transparency and the May series, read on.)

Teaching in the Wake of Hate Incidents

We wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in the wake of hate-based violence. As our campus processes the news coming out of New Zealand today, we offer this slight update of a blog from October.

In the wake of the massacre of worshippers at New Zealand mosques, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our world. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.