Inclusive Classrooms and Diversity

Our classrooms are strengthened by creating supportive environments for students from diverse backgrounds and personalities.  All students, including underrepresented- and first-generation college students, can benefit when faculty creates an inclusive classroom through outreach and mentoring.

The following resource on Teaching a Diverse Student Body: Creating an Inclusive Classroom Environment provides insights on how to implement cooperative learning and open discussions in class, as these techniques encourage students to work together and provide more opportunities for student participation.  The article also points out some important details to consider when preparing course materials. Include examples or illustrations that acknowledge individuals from diverse backgrounds in non-stereotypical ways and provide students with opportunities to share their own interests and experiences in the classroom.  In addition, Five Competencies for Culturally Competent Teaching and Learning presents reflection points for faculty to strengthen their teaching strategies in creating a culturally inclusive classroom environment.

The following links provide tips and strategies on Building Inclusive Classrooms to create a learning environment where students feel both valued and protected.

Establishing Ground Rules
Inclusive Teaching Strategies
Classroom Climate
Connecting with Your Students

In the following video, Dr. Sherry Valentine explains that diversity may include and is not limited to one’s cultural identity, lifestyle, background, communication styles, morals, values, ethnicity, race, gender, status, and individuality. Implementing a variety of instructional strategies and learning activities in your class provides students opportunities to learn in ways that are responsive to their communication and learning styles.  Also consider your students’ cultures and language skills when developing learning objectives and instructional activities. Most importantly build rapport with your students! By understanding of their lives, this will enable you to increase the relevance of lessons and make examples more meaningful, which allows students to know that you care.

More Resources:

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