Guide To Teaching and Learning

Inclusive Teaching Overview

Pluralism matters. Educational psychology teaches that diverse classrooms, where students from different backgrounds communicate their different experiences and perspectives, encourage students to think in more complex ways, necessary for an informed and thoughtful community. Inclusive teaching involves self-reflection, becoming aware about how your teaching decisions impact students and being intentional about ensuring course materials reflect diverse voices. 

Inclusive teaching is a mindset, not a particular pedagogical approach, and describes an approach to instruction that:

  • Takes into account the diverse needs and backgrounds of all students
  • Is designed to engage, include, and challenge all students
  • Creates an equitable environment where all students belong, have access to learn, and feel valued
  • Includes and appreciates diverse course materials and ideas and multiple perspectives

Inclusive teaching requires instructor awareness about the ways that structural inequities manifest in your discipline and at The New School more broadly. It requires paying attention to, and discussing with your peers, issues of bias and inequality, including barriers and assumptions that may discourage or even prevent some students from progressing in yor program or your field. 

Why is Inclusive Teaching important?

We have an obligation to support an inclusive, open community that invites brave conversations. Incorporating inclusive teaching practices is integral to ensuring our learning environments are places where:

  • Students challenge themselves, participate, and persist–and don’t get left behind
  • Conflict is less likely to occur and, when it does, more likely to be followed by restorative dialogue  
  • Students and instructors develop supportive relationships

To foster such spaces, faculty need to:

  • Begin with themselves and consider how their own implicit biases affect the decisions they make about course material. We all have implicit biases; it’s human nature. Inclusive teaching asks us to begin to surface those biases, making the unconscious conscious so that we can begin to address them. Unconscious beliefs and attitudes have been found to be associated with language and certain behaviors such as eye contact, blink rates and smiles. Teachers telegraph bias—even if they think they’re not biased. Explore more by taking brief implicit bias tests through Harvard’s Project Implicit.
  • Be prepared to have difficult conversations, including about race, even if they feel they ‘don’t know how.’
  • Be prepared to de-escalate potentially charged discussions. 
  • Help your students have meaningful and respectful dialogue with those with whom they disagree. 
  • Learn about resources available to assist them and how to help them exercise agency. 
  • With the rise in incivility, hateful language, and disrespect of others, learn to create safe and productive learning environments. This is particularly important in online settings. 
  • Know the definitions of and policies and procedures on hate speech and hate crimes, bullying, stalking, harassment, discrimination, and intolerance. 


Additional Resources

–>review these two lists of resources, excellent:

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