You can design a more inclusive learning environment when they are interested in their students by reading more about their backgrounds, interests, and motivations for learning (Addy et al., 2021). Your students come to the classroom with a broad range of pre-existing knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes, influencing how they attend, interpret and organize information. Since new knowledge and skill depend on pre-existing knowledge and skill, knowing what students know and can do when they enter the classroom or before they begin a new topic of study can help us craft instructional activities that build off of student strengths and acknowledge and address their weaknesses.
Questions for getting to know your students
Adapt and administer these questions (listed below) in an anonymous online survey (Qualtrics, etc.) for students to complete voluntarily at the start of the semester. Then, view the results in aggregate and use focused steps to make your course more inclusive.
This form allows you to share aspects of life that can help your instructor know how to support overall learning in this course better. Please be aware that you are not obligated to complete this form. The information collected will be aggregated, held anonymous, and used to help foster an inclusive and equitable classroom.
As a reminder, there is no obligation for you to answer any of the questions. This questionnaire aims to help me understand who is in class so that I can support your success.
- Addy, M.T., Dube, D., Mitchell, K. A., & SoRelle, M. (2021). What inclusive instructors do: Principles and practices for excellence in college teaching. Stylus Publishing
- Addy, M.T., Dube, D. & Mitchell, K. A. (2020, Aug. 5). Fostering an inclusive classroom. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/08/05/small-steps-instructors-can-take-build-more-inclusive-classrooms-opinion
The Who’s in your class form by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University, is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Who’s in your class form is a derivative of the Who’s in Class? Form from Stylus Publishing (permission received by LaFayette College). The form is included in the book What Inclusive Instructors Do Principles and Practices from Excellence in College Teaching.
The Assess Prior Knowledge and Skills section by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University, is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Assess Prior Knowledge and Skills section is a derivative of the Assessing Prior Knowledge developed by Carnegie Mellon University Eberly Center Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation (retrieved on July 5, 2022) from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/priorknowledge.html