Written and curated by Saint Leo Faculty:  Victoria Anyikwa, Ph.D.  and  Khalilah Caines, LCSW

Are you engaging in Inclusive teaching and learning in your classroom? 

What do you consider when preparing for your classes? First, you may think about learning outcomes or active learning strategies to engage your students. You may also think about the classroom community and content selection or assessment methods by which you will inspire critical thinking and collaborative learning. You may even consider the needs of your students and their readiness to engage with course content. However, how much do you consider the experiences and diversity of your students in teaching preparation? While content selection, assessment tools, and classroom management are all important components of the teaching and learning process, teaching with inclusion in mind requires a more in-depth approach to teaching that considers our own teaching philosophy and all aspects of our students’ lives.  

The term “inclusion” is not new for educators; however, it has received more attention in recent years following the pandemic and issues relating to social injustice across racial and social groups. The year 2020 was a year of significant events that impacted our nation and our world. COVID-19 was the catalyst for a digital explosion felt across the world, particularly in higher education. The swift transition to online learning highlighted disparities in our communities and classrooms which directly impacted student learning. Civil and racial unrest further emphasized inequities and inequalities that impacted students and faculty prompting the need for more inclusive approaches to teaching and learning. As faculty strive to “re-imagine learning,” there is a need to understand the impact of these challenges for higher education as we identify new approaches to learning. Secondly, there is also a need for acknowledgment and awareness of various aspects of students’ lives that will promote more inclusive classrooms. Lastly, re-imagining provides educators an opportunity to re-examine their own teaching philosophy and pedagogical approaches that may promote or hinder a diverse and inclusive classroom.

Strategies for Inclusive Teaching: Ways to Develop and incorporate inclusive teaching practices
  1. Consider what your teaching philosophy is and what shapes it.
  2. Consider whether your pedagogical approach incorporates Inclusive Teaching & cultural humility.
  3. Create a welcoming, respectful, safe, and supportive learning environment.
  4. Promote practices that increase awareness, appreciation, and celebration of different cultures, beliefs, and ideas.
  5. Build skills that are both required and necessary to be successful in your virtual classroom …inclusive teaching is not just the doing…it is a mindset.
  6. Allow for a diversity of perspectives…your voice, the voice of each student, the voice of the authors you choose for your courses, and historical contributions…a foundation of trust and respect.
  7. Maintain high expectations for all students.
  8. Avoid making assumptions about a student’s abilities based on race, ethnicity, gender, or one’s social and/or economic background.
  9. Engage in continuous self-reflection and learning.
View our other Inclusive Teaching resource pages:

What is Inclusive Teaching?
Inclusive Teaching Principles