Inclusive Teaching


Selma Koc and Shayna Sharpe

Transitional Skills

  • Chapter Five opens with a list of behaviors, asking if we have ever seen them at a meeting. They include not leaving enough time for Q&A after a presentation, attempting to draw out a participant who hasn’t spoken by putting them on the spot, or certain individuals dominating the discussion either at an inappropriate time, or putting themselves at the center of the meeting. There was a companion list of frustrations from students, outlining things such as being put on the spot by the instructor, certain students being allowed to hijack classroom discussions, or the instructor not intervening when a student feels they are being singled out our picked on. Whether in the business world or classroom environment, these behaviors do not create an inclusive environment. These failures in leadership only represent half of the equation.
  • As instructors (or leaders in business), it’s up to us to make sure that we are creating an inclusive environment, however, it’s not completely up to leaders and facilitators. We can’t curate the exact environment we want; between the instructor’s background and inherent bias, makeup of the student population in the university and classroom, and even the physical classroom environment will all impact how classroom interactions take place. What we can do is create an environment where the inclusive culture can grow. We can create the space, but the students also have to engage, which is a challenge all by itself.

  • The book gives some good tips on how to make sure we are creating that space. One exercise that I thought was particularly powerful was the idea of coming up with a set of rules (although I might not call them rules, maybe call them classroom methods or something less like high school). Not just coming up with a set of methods for productive discussion but asking the students to join in and share what frustrates them about classroom discussions and how they see fixing the problem. Hopefully it will give students some equity in the classroom environment, and they will be (at least a little) more engaged because everyone has a say in setting the tone.

  • Asking for anonymous feedback throughout the semester is a valuable way to get input from students, without them feeling like they are put on the spot. I ask students to take out a piece of paper and write any questions they might have or thoughts to share, without putting their name on it. I read and answer the questions for the benefit of the class. When you ask everyone, “Does this make sense?” Most students will just say yes, even if they don’t understand. I get a lot of questions that people might not want to ask in front of the group, but I really don’t know who wrote it so I can’t accidentally “out” someone. However, we need to be prepared to hear things we don’t like, don’t agree with, and more importantly, take action, when possible, to address concerns and correct our teaching methods.

  • Creating an inclusive environment not only means to make sure we’re using pronouns properly and trying to engage everyone in discussion, but it also involves giving students the tools to say, “This environment isn’t working for me,” and empower them to speak up for what they need. We do our best to be inclusive, but as I said earlier, it’s not just up to us to dictate how things will go to make them inclusive—that goes against the very nature of inclusivity. Not only will we become better instructors, but students will learn skills for learning and communicating that will transfer out of the classroom and into whatever job they might have when they leave our campus. At the end of chapter five there is an instructor checklist that might be a good classroom activity and discussion and ask the students how they might see those skills transferring out of the classroom and into life beyond college.

Reflection on Learning Community

In our last meeting, we talked about ways to encourage students to get help during faculty office hours. The faculty stated that they use strategies to encourage and increase students coming to their office hours; however, they have not had much success in attracting students to visit them in office hours. Particularly, faculty were concerned about students who may need help but do not seek help even if they are given opportunities. I was particularly interested in coming up with ideas for to encourage students to visit faculty during their office hours. I looked up some information and literature with respect to students who might need help but don’t seek help. To keep my reflection short, here are some findings and ideas for encouraging students to seek help from faculty during their office hours:

Problem: “Students do not recognize early enough that they need help.”
– Solution: Encourage students early on to seek help. Provide timely assessments and constructive feedback.
Problem: “Students do not know or understand effective study strategies.”
– Solution: Provide them with ideas and strategies for effective learning and studying.
Problem: “Students do not want to be perceived they need help (for a variety of reasons) or introverts.”
– Solution: Arrive class early and chat with students. Informally encourage them to seek help during casual conversations.

And in general: Show and let them clearly understand that you’re interested and invested in their progress and success.




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