Inclusive Teaching

At Lewis University, our Lasallian mission, core principles and values lead our teaching practices to develop and educate the complete person. In the pursuit Knowledge, Fidelity, Wisdom, Justice, and Association, faculty can implement strategies to meet the needs of a changing and more diverse classroom. As a Sanctified Zone, the University seeks to acknowledge, value, and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion at Lewis University in all our programs, classrooms, experiential learning settings, and virtual spaces. The Faculty Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in collaboration with the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion is proud to support Lewis University faculty in cultivating and reflecting upon inclusive and equitable teaching practices., The following approaches and resources can be implemented in your own teaching practice of any discipline. For further consultation on equitable and inclusive teaching and learning, please contact the faculty center for an appointment or to share your own inclusive teaching practices by hosting an inclusive teaching seminar or workshop.

What is Inclusive Teaching?

Inclusive teaching shows concern and care for the whole student acknowledging their abilities, experiences and diverse backgrounds. Teaching inclusively recognizes students do not come into our classrooms as a blank state, but rather, bring a variety of experiences both academically and culturally.  “Teaching inclusively means embracing student diversity in all forms — race, ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic background, ideology, even personality traits like introversion — as an asset. It means designing and teaching courses in ways that foster talent in all students, but especially those who come from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.” (Sathy & Hogan, 2019) Beginning and continuing to incorporate inclusive teaching practices can increase student’s sense of belonging, academic performance, and persistence.

Inclusive Teaching Practices in the Lasallian Tradition

Utilizing the framework for inclusive teaching from Columbia University, we can broadly see how inclusive teaching adheres to the traditions of Lasallian values, traditions, mission, and core principles.

Create an Inclusive Course Climate to promote Academic Belonging
The physical, emotional, and intellectual spaces we provide for our students are important to cultivate learning and success. Become aware of your own implicit biases, get to know your students, allow students to get to know one another and defuse inappropriate classroom behavior justly and directly.

  • Communicate the importance of student identities and backgrounds in your classroom at the beginning of a semester
  • Provide structured group activities where students can learn from one another
  • Allow for assessments to be peer or self-reviewed
  • Scaffold content (More information about scaffolding content here)

Set Equitable Course Expectations
The cycle of assessment and feedback is crucial in inclusive teaching. Set clear expectations for key assignments and assessments. Seek feedback from students regularly as well as provide feedback to students. Scaffolding of content will help students master learning objectives. The value of what students are learning should be clearly expressed to the student with the expectation that all students will be successful with the appropriate amount of studying and use of materials and resources. Don’t assume students should already know how to complete an assignment. Be transparent about how students will be graded. Varied evaluation methods such as peer and self-evaluation can encourage students to feel empowered in their own learning process. Collect feedback throughout the semester, before and after large and small assessments. Ensure the University’s sanctified zone statement is included in your syallabi.

Diverse Course Content
Every discipline can benefit from incorporating content, analysis and views from a variety of sources that more accurately reflect society’s’ and students’ experiences. In cases where diverse content is not available, students can benefit from learning about diverse viewpoints around the content being delivered. No course content is neutral. All course content contains underlying assumptions and context that when brought to the forefront can lead to a more inclusive course climate. The ACUE has developed an inclusive teaching toolkit in which the first practice is implementing diverse perspectives in your course.

Employ Universal Design for Learning
Everybody learns differently. Providing multiple ways for students to consume your content helps all students. Ensuring accessibility of documents, tables, images, and videos gives students the opportunity to learn materials in the way they learn best. Read more about Universal Design in Learning here.

Reflect on your Teaching
Increase your self-awareness of your own teaching practices, discipline assumptions, and tacit biases. Try implementing one strategy at a time and reflect on the feedback you receive from your students. Acknowledge getting this feedback and consider summarizing main themes for students.  Don’t wait for end of the semester evaluations, but examine how your course is going throughout the semester.  What modalities and formats do you use and are they benefiting students?

Additional Readings and Resources

References

Sathy, Viji & Hogan, Kelly A. (2019) How to make your teaching more inclusive. Chronicle of Higher education Advice Guide. https://www.chronicle.com/article/how-to-make-your-teaching-more-inclusive/

Merriman, William J., “De La Salle’s “Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher”: Still Relevant Today?” AXIS: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education 10, no. 2 (Institute for Lasallian Studies at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota: 2020). Retrieved on 12/6/2021 from https://axis.smumn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/10.2.1.2-De-La-Salles-Twelve-Virtues-of-a-Good-Teacher-Still-Relevant-Today.pdf

Kachani, Soulaymane, Ross, Catherine & Irvine, Amanda (2020) 5 Pathways to Inclusive Teaching. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved on 12/6/2021 from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/02/19/practical-steps-toward-more-inclusive-teaching-opinion

Tanner K. D. (2013). Structure matters: twenty-one teaching strategies to promote student engagement and cultivate classroom equity. CBE life sciences education12(3), 322–331. Retrieved on 12/7/2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762997/

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