Inclusive and equitable teaching are essential to support student learning. “Inclusive teaching involves deliberately cultivating a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel welcome, valued, and supported in their learning. Such teaching attends to social identities and seeks to change the ways systemic inequities shape dynamics in teaching-learning spaces, affect individuals’ experiences of those spaces, and influence course and curriculum design.” (University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, 2016). Inclusive teaching “dismantles the historic notion that culture and other differences among students make them in some way deficient as learners” (Addy, Dube, Mitchell, & SoRelle, 2021). Inclusive teaching highlights the role of the learning environment on students’ educational experience.
Equitable teaching refers to all students “receiving what they need to develop to their full academic and social potential” (National Equity Project, n.d.). This is different from equality, which means providing the same resources and support to all students. Equitable teaching requires that instructors recognize structural barriers that some students face. In order to do this, we must be willing to consider our current assumptions and educational structures, and examine the ways they may be creating barriers and exacerbating inequities. It requires that we fight for a just system to support all of our students (Venet, 2021).
Why is Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Necessary?
Colleges and universities, particularly predominantly white institutions, have historically been and continue to be spaces that inflict harm upon many students of marginalized backgrounds. This includes what happens inside of the classroom. (Gannon, 2020; Patel 2021;Addy et al., 2021)
Inclusive and equitable teaching practices recognize that students’ emotional well-being cannot be separated from learning. (Cavanagh, 2016; Venet, 2021)