Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive teaching practices improve student success metrics[1] and help each student feel welcomed, valued, heard, and supported. While these strategies help all students succeed in their learning, they are especially important for the success of students from minoritized backgrounds (e.g., students with a range of abilities, students of color, English language learners, etc.) and can help close equity gaps in student success.1 To build off of the Equity in the Classroom statewide event, we are sharing innovative practices for inclusive teaching within three core areas, below.

At the Gateway Technical College EcoFest, a teenage boy is pedaling a stationary bike which powers a car simulation.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Racine Campus for EcoFest, visiting more than 50 vendors. The community celebration, organized by Gateway and Greening Greater Racine, shared information and encouraged participation in activities which help us live our lives in a more environmentally friendly way. The celebration offered a great opportunity for using inclusive teaching techniques within the community.

 

Toolkit of Inclusive Teaching Practices:

Foster Belonging

We all receive cues about whether or not we belong in a particular space, community, or environment. These cues can come from someone’s body language or tone of voice. They can come from imagery that shows the type of people who belong within the space (e.g., white women depicted in nursing textbooks) or the types of resources that are available (e.g., welding equipment that only fits male students). Ultimately, these cues and our sense of belonging affects our behavior, happiness, health, well-being, and performance. Thus, to help our students succeed, we need to foster belonging across our campuses and in our classrooms. 

To learn more about two steps you can take to help foster belonging, see the Foster Belonging page.

Engage Growth Mindsets

Mindsets fall along a spectrum from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Students with a fixed mindset view intelligence and academic achievement as something that they are born with that does not change, whereas students with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their mastery of a subject by engaging in the material and their learning. These differences in mindsets shape student success. Students with growth mindsets perform better in school and even have greater brain activity when receiving feedback on their academic work. Fortunately, mindsets are malleable, and incorporating lessons about mindsets in class can help encourage growth mindsets in your students (Mindset Kit, PERTS). 

To learn more about two steps you can take to help engage growth mindsets, see the Engage Growth Mindsets page.

Employ Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) focuses on providing multiple accessible ways and modes for students to engage in class. Whereas traditionally, educators react and respond to accommodations requests to adapt course material, this UDL framework is proactive in that the course is designed to be accessible for all kinds of learners. No matter who the students are and what accommodations they may or may not need, they can engage in the class and demonstrate their learning in a way that best suits their needs. In addition, this course design helps all learners. For example, providing transcripts of recorded lessons for hearing impaired students, also allows all students to easily search transcripts using key words to find content that they need to review. 

To learn more about a few steps you can take to implement UDL, see the Employ Universal Design for Learning page.

For more information, see:

WTCS resources

External toolkits, webinars and resources on inclusive teaching

Teaching assessment

For questions, please contact:

[1] University of Michigan. 2020. The Research Basis for Inclusive Teaching. Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.