What is Inclusive Teaching and Why is it so Important Today?
What is Inclusive Teaching?
Inclusive teaching describes the range of approaches to teaching that consider the diverse needs and backgrounds of all students.
Inclusive teaching strategies refer to any number of teaching approaches that create a learning environment where all students feel equally valued and where all students have equal access to learning, regardless of their background and their ability to learn.
Why does Inclusive Teaching Matter?
Teaching is about much more than content and discipline. The learning environment we create has been directly correlated with learning outcomes: specifically, a student’s sense of belonging predicts motivation, engagement and achievement. Which means that the more valued a student feels in your class, the more they are likely to excel in your subject.
Am I an Inclusive Teacher?
Do I watch my words? Do I watch my actions? Do I watch how I talk about one student to the other? These are all questions to ask ourselves.
The desire to be an Inclusive Teacher, and self awareness are two key steps in becoming one.
The examples I use in class, the assignments I give out, and how I treat all students reflects what I value and I communicate those values to my students whether I intend to or not.
Why Use Inclusive Teaching Strategies?
“Even though some of us might wish to conceptualize our classrooms as culturally neutral or might choose to ignore the differences of students, students cannot check their identities at the door, nor can they instantly transcend their current level of development… Therefore, it is important that the teaching strategies we employ in the classroom reflect an understanding and respect for religious and cultural aspects of the student so that we can anticipate the tensions that might occur in the classroom and be proactive about them”
How do I Create an Inclusive Learning Environment?
There are four dimensions to consider:
Getting to know your students
Reflecting on your own teaching persona
Considering the content you plan
And the activities you plan.
All students are different and learn differently. All students deserve respect and acceptance. This is a principle of inclusive education.
Incorporating Inclusive teaching practices creates a learning environment where:
Teachers develop supportive relationships with students
Teachers decrease the potential for incivility and unproductive conflict
Student participation and engagement increases
Students are more likely to take intellectual risks, persist with difficult material and retain learning across contexts
The benefits of inclusive teaching include:
Teachers can connect and engage with a variety of students.
Teachers are prepared for “hot moments” that may arise when controversial material is discussed.
Students connect with course materials that are relevant to them.
Students feel comfortable in the classroom environment to voice their ideas/questions.
Students are more likely to be successful through activities that support their learning modalities, abilities, and backgrounds.
Ask yourself the Following:
How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students?
How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?
“How do I foster a diverse and equitable environment? How do I really reach ALL my students?”
Am I Improving my attitudes, so that I believe that every single student in my classroom can succeed?
And Finally, Inclusive Teaching
Makes differences less different:
Inclusive classrooms are filled with diverse learners, each of whom has strengths and challenges. Inclusion gives kids a way to talk about how everyone learns in their own way. This can go a long way in helping kids know that differences too, are just a normal part of life.