Preparing an Inclusive Classroom

Accessibility

Classroom Climate

  • Ask all students for phonetic pronunciation of their names, and use these to call on and identify students
  • Ask students for their pronouns and use their pronouns accordingly
  • Recognize that all of your students have multiple identities that inform their cultural practices, beliefs, behaviors and expectations
    • Acknowledge that because someone does something differently than you would expect, it does not make it wrong
  • Recognize that you have multiple identities that inform your cultural practices, beliefs, behaviors and expectations
    • Reflect on how these may differ from your students' practices, beliefs and behaviors and how they might affect your students' success in the course
  • Recognize the power you hold as a faculty member
    • Consider how this dynamic may affect a student's ability to do things such as speak in class, ask for help or provide feedback to faculty and other students
  • Take note of who disproportionately participates in your classroom
    • Is there a way you could structure the course differently?
    • How might you encourage more students to participate?
  • Consider administering anonymous surveys throughout the semester to gauge whether students are feeling included and supported, and whether your teaching style is facilitating their learning
    • Use this feedback to change your syllabus or facilitation
  • Monitor the assumptions you make about your students and work to challenge negative assumptions or biases that do not support students' success in your course
  • Implement a variety of teaching styles in the classroom — lecture, group discussion, student teaching, etc.
  • Support effective disagreement and the conflict of ideas in ways that allow a variety of perspectives to be shared
    • Encourage openness to multiple perspectives and experiences of others
  • Teach, encourage and model that intention is not the same as impact
    • Ask that all students and faculty recognize that the impact of what they say or do can be harmful, even when the intention was not to harm
    • Model and encourage repairs when harm is caused, even when the harm is not fully understood
    • This can involve admitting mistakes openly and modeling your own self ­improvement

Representation

  • Accommodate faith-based observances and cultural holidays when preparing your syllabus
  • Ensure that women and people of color are represented as authors and subjects in the curriculum and curriculum texts
  • Ensure that multiple voices and cultural perspectives are represented in the curriculum and curriculum texts
  • Ensure that different cultural, racial and gender identities are represented in examples. visual aids, multiple choice questions and other teaching resources

Assessment

  • Emphasize mastery of content and learning over performance or competition
  • Consider whether your assessment, including deadline and attendance policies, disproportionately disadvantage certain students who have competing work and caretaking responsibilities.
    • Is there a way to accommodate those students so that your assessment does not exacerbate preexisting inequities?
    • Are these assessment techniques necessary to achieving the course goals?
  • Use methods of evaluation that focus on mastery of content and learning rather than performance and competition between students
  • Use a variety of assessments so that students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of the content
  • Be explicit about your expectations for all forms of evaluation and be flexible in your evaluation of students' work
  • Offer task- and process-related feedback frequently
  • Use discretion when evaluating grammar.
    • Correct grammar for informational purposes, but try not to connect it to grades unless that is an explicit learning outcome of the course
    • For more information read Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies by Asao B. Inoue 

Other Considerations

  • How does my discipline help prepare students to live and work in today's culturally diverse democratic society in an interdependent world?
  • How does the course empower my students to develop diverse perspectives about the paradigms and concepts of my discipline?
  • How does the course help students understand the global goal of education in a culturally diverse society and develop skills and dispositions for reconstructing society for social change?
  • Do I provide illustrations and examples, or enlist my students to share illustrations and examples, that reflect cultural perspectives, global perspectives and issues of equity and justice?
  • Do my assignments enlist students to share illustrations and examples that reflect cultural perspectives. global perspectives and issues of equity and justice?
  • What cultural perspectives are being shared throughout the course?
    • Which cultural perspectives are missing?
  • What issues of social justice and civic engagement are infused?

Additional Resources

  • Inclusive Excellence Toolkit from the University of Missouri
  • Inoue, A. (2019). "Classroom writing assessment as an antiracist practice: Confronting White supremacy in the judgements of language, Pedagogy, 19(3), 373-404
  • Ukpokodu, O.N. (2010). "How a sustainable campuswide diversity curriculum fosters academic success," Multicultural Education, 27-36