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“It turns out that people only learn what they care about, subjects that have personal meaning for them and are in some way related to their own lives beyond the classroom.” – Jane Fried

 A Few Guiding “Principles”

  • The playing field is not level, and it is our job to level it.
  • We have choices to make in design and interactions every day that provided opportunities for continual improvement.
  • Engagement and relationship are key for learning.
  • Students’ lived experiences are content.
  • Teaching to the margins improves learning for all.
  • Intelligence is not fixed.
  • We should assume all identities are in the room all of the time.
  • Transparency is essential.
  • Feedback at regular intervals impacts how successful we are.
  • What would you add to this list?

Some Effective Inclusive Teaching Practices

  1. Model and develop the capacity for perspective taking.
  2. Pose questions that elicit diverse experiences, and knowledge that students have.
  3. Encourage divergent perspectives to be voiced.
  4. When assigning group work, assign the groups rather than have students choose.
  5. When developing assignments, consider the “scaffolding” that underlies them. Create opportunities for students to learn how to effectively complete each of the parts and then to integrate.
  6. Ask for regular feedback and respond.

Classroom Assessment for Learning

“Classroom Assessment” is a formative rather than a summative approach to assessment. Its purpose is to improve the quality of student learning, not to provide evidence for evaluating or grading students. It provides faculty with feedback about their effectiveness as teachers, and it gives students a measure of their progress as learners. The aim of classroom assessments is to provide faculty with information on what, how much, and how well students are learning. In this document are examples of some quick ways to take the pulse in your course.

The critical incident questionnaire (C.I.Q.) is a single page form that is handed out to students once a week at the end of the last class you have with them that week.  It lists five questions, each of which asks students to write down some details about events that happened in the class that week.  Its purpose is not to ask students what they liked or didn’t like about the class.  Instead it gets them to focus on specific, concrete happenings.  It works very well in discussion based classes, and is a good way of taking the pulse of a class in terms of their experience.


Read through this chart. Inclusive Practices Chart

Included in the second column are some of the things that most of us do.  As you read through, check off in front of it the ones you already do.In the fourth column are ideas for how you might enhance what you already do by using more inclusive, student-centered language, and some new ideas that you might like to try.  As you read through this list, check off a few you might like to adopt or adapt.
Reflective Exercise

Think about your discipline and your course. Every discipline’s style of teaching and learning is different based on the subject matter, content and level of the course. Draft a short handout or develop a portion of your syllabus to help students understand how to succeed in your course.  Point out the best techniques to read, to study or identify what resources are available to help them know how to be successful in your course.

Back to:

Learning: What Do I Need To Know?

Changing: How Do I Get Started?

Assessing: Is it Making an Impact?