Inclusive Teaching Strategies
What It Is
Inclusive teaching embraces students’ various cultural and social backgrounds and recognizes students’ different learning needs and preferences. By establishing a welcoming learning environment and using a variety of teaching methods that motivate students to learn, we create a learning space where everyone belongs.
Why It Matters
All students are different! Acknowledging and embracing learners’ differences and their contribution to the classroom can lead to increased participation and engagement. Building an inclusive space for learners will allow them to more freely share unique ideas and diverse perspectives. Additionally, inclusive teaching helps students and instructors learn from each other.
- Introductions – Having everyone in the classroom pronounce their own name can alleviate confusion on name pronunciation and show respect to their identity. Asking learners to fill out an information card with their interests, preferred name and pronouns, and questions about class is another way to get to know students through a low-key activity. For online or hybrid courses, consider adding the NameCoach feature in Blackboard, viewing the Oscelot photo roster, or using Microsoft Flip for an introductory video assignment.
- Include diverse teaching materials – Inclusive teaching can take many paths, but an easy way to start could be incorporating learning materials that represent scholars with diverse identities and backgrounds. This effort can contribute to learners feeling represented through the material, thereby potentially increasing relevance and engagement
- Provide open-ended topics for discussion – Open-ended discussion questions can encourage diverse perspectives and opinions. Similarly, consider providing different modes of discussion beyond in class discourse, such as discussion boards, reflexive journaling, or small group interactions.
- Connect key lessons to the surrounding community – Engaging with the community around you can help students understand the intersections of diversity outside of the classroom and better connect with issues beyond the classroom.
- Use Universal Design for Learning resources– Embrace student variability with multiple pathways for exploring content, engaging with the class, and expressing their learning. That could look like making tests/quizzes shorter and/or providing more time for completion, or being aware of the resources provided by Student Accessibility Services and connecting students to appropriate resources as needed. Additionally, consider varied engagement and assessment strategies as you design your course.
- – Engage: STLI Academy- Inclusive Teaching for Higher Education
– Explore: Diversity and Inclusion Resources
- – Explore: Student Accessibility Services
- – Read: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
- – Read: Accessibility in Presentations
- – Read: Accessibility in Assessment
- – Explore: UDL on Campus site
University of Delaware Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning. (n.d.). Diversity and Inclusive Teaching. University of Delaware. https://ctal.udel.edu/resources-2/inclusive-teaching/
West, E., Novak, D., & Mueller, C. (2016). Inclusive instructional practices used and their perceived importance by instructors. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 29(4), 363–374.
Cite this Resource
Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation. (2023, January). Inclusive teaching strategies [Teaching resource]. https://stli.wm.edu/inclusive-teaching-strategies/