Inclusive Teaching: A Mindset and a Practice (CELT Teaching Tip)

As we embark on the Annual Teaching Inclusively Workshop, we wanted to share more information and initial feedback on our Inclusive Classroom Workshop.

Nearly every University department is on the annual training schedule, with almost 12% of departments already completed. In this first year, we focus our Canvas modules on the topics of Why teach inclusively?; How implicit bias impacts your teaching; and Key components of teaching inclusively. These framing modules help support the ISU Strategic Plan to “enhance and cultivate the ISU Experience where faculty, staff, students, and visitors are safe and feel welcomed, supported, included, and valued by the university and each other.”

Initial feedback regarding the pre-workshop modules has been quite positive, with comments such as:

“I was once an international student myself, so I can really appreciate an inclusive environment. It’s hard enough for students to be away from their family and live in an unfamiliar community. It’s even harder if the community is not welcoming and accepting to them. Although Iowa State University takes pride in our land-grant mission, and inclusive principles, it is up to us, the instructors, to actually apply those principles to our everyday teaching practice.”

“I was secure in the fact that I am here to just teach [this] subject. However, what I think that I have been missing is exactly why I failed at my first attempt at college. I needed to feel like I belonged and that I could achieve great things. By being more inclusive, I can help students break their own mental barriers and help them succeed.”

During the face-to-face portion of the workshop, participants discuss course design, teaching strategies, and evaluation practices. These baseline teaching practices encourage “The act of creating environments, in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. An inclusive climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions so that all people can fully participate in the University’s opportunities” (UC-Berkeley).

Participants have shared appreciation for the resources and the opportunity to dialogue with departmental colleagues. For example, when asked what new insight do you have, representative comments have included:

“The wide range of resources available to improve the learning environment and the variety of approaches to reach the same goal.”

“Different methods my colleagues have used to encourage participation. My colleagues are a big resource, and I should engage them more often.”

Indeed, following the workshop, 99% strongly agree or somewhat agree* to the statement: “I recognize why teaching inclusively is important”

Recently, an undergraduate student responded publicly to the importance of the Inclusive Classroom Workshops, indicating, “If you don’t think that this matters in your field, it does. It matters to other students here at Iowa State and me.”

As we embark on this first semester of workshops, we encourage you to consider Inclusive Classroom Teaching as a Mindset. Given our interactions that we have with students, it is our opportunity and responsibility to help our students persist in their field of interest at Iowa State (Killpack et al., 2016).

Teaching inclusively is also a Practice. Take a moment and ask yourself, “What am I doing today to promote an inclusive classroom? What can I do in my classroom this week to make it more inclusive? What changes can I promote in my department, program, or institution to promote the success of all of our students?”

Our students came here to learn from and with the best. Our mindset and practices can help support all students belong and thrive. It is up to us to make that happen!

Find out more from CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom webpage.

With a joy for teaching,

Sara Marcketti, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

 

References

Killpack, T., Melón, L., & Marsteller, P. (2016). Toward Inclusive STEM Classrooms: What Personal Role Do Faculty Play? CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(3), 9.

Johnson, K. (2019). Implementing inclusive practices in an active learning STEM classroom. Advances in Physiology Education, 43(2), 207-210.

UC-Berkeley’s Strategic Planning Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (PDF). Retrieved from https://diversity.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/academic-strategic-toolkit-final.pdf

 

*88% strongly agree, 11% somewhat agree


Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Inclusive Teaching: A Mindset and a Practice (January 23, 2020 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip for January 23, 2020 (PDF)