Guide To Teaching and Learning

How to Create an Inclusive Learning Environment

How to Create an Inclusive Learning Environment 

    • Create a welcoming, respectful learning environment that recognizes and values difference. 
    • Adopt community agreements
      • Promote respectful interaction among students and between you and the students (e.g. student feedback)
      • Consider these other examples of community agreements
    • Communicate clearly and concisely using inclusive language. 
      • If you use Americentric (or other culturally specific) idioms, take a moment to explain them and don’t assume that students will understand the phrases you use
      • Use gender-inclusive phrases. Instead of ‘Good morning, ladies and gentlemen’, say ‘Good morning, students.’ Don’t assume someone’s gender based on their name or appearance. 
    • Teach with transparency 
      • Explain the decision-making behind your various course elements, why you chose particular activities, what you expect students to learn from them and their relevance. 
      • Communicate clear and high expectations and provide constructive feedback
    • Get to know your students as whole people
      • What are their personal, educational and career goals? Know their names and pronoun them correctly. What are challenges to their participation? Ask what they need to do well in your class.
    • Provide alternatives. 
      • Provide students multiple entry points and ways to engage with the course material and demonstrate their knowledge. For example, letting students choose between writing a final paper or creating a digital project, gives students autonomy and caters to different learning styles. 
      • Use teaching methods that consider diverse learning preferences, abilities, ways of knowing, and prior experience and knowledge.
      • Ensure accessibility.
    • Overemphasize structure. Structuring your syllabus and course assignments in a clear and consistent manner levels the playing field and will enable your students to stay on track. This is even more important in the online setting.
      • Provide natural supports for learning to enhance opportunities for all learners

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