Inclusive Teaching

*Edited from:
Inclusive teaching refers to any number of teaching approaches that address the needs of students with a variety of backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities. These strategies contribute to an overall inclusive learning environment, in which students feel equally valued.
Why use inclusive teaching strategies?“Even though some of us might wish to conceptualize our classrooms as culturally neutral or might choose to ignore the cultural dimensions, students cannot check their sociocultural identities at the door, nor can they instantly transcend their current level of development… Therefore, it is important that the pedagogical strategies we employ in the classroom reflect an understanding of social identity development so that we can anticipate the tensions that might occur in the classroom and be proactive about them” (Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M. & Lovett, M.C. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. ).

How does inclusive teaching improve student engagement and learning?

  • You can connect with and engage with a variety of students.
  • You are prepared for “spark moments” or issues that arise when controversial material is discussed.
  • Students connect with course materials that are relevant to them.
  • Students feel comfortable in the classroom environment to voice their ideas/thoughts/questions.
  • Students are more likely to experience success in your course through activities that support their learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds.

What are some strategies for engaging in inclusive teaching and learning?

  • Be reflective by asking yourself the following:
  • How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students?
  • How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?
  • How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class?
  • Incorporate diversity into your overall curriculum.
  • Be intentional about creating a safe learning environment by utilizing ground rules.
  • Be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students.
  • Utilize a variety of teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of students with diverse learning styles, abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Use universal design principles to create accessible classes. For example, present information both orally and visually to accommodate both students with visual or auditory impairments in addition to students with various learning preferences.
  • When possible, provide flexibility in how students demonstrate their knowledge and how you assess student knowledge and development. Vary your assessments (for example, incorporate a blend of collaborative and individual assignments) or allow choice in assignments (for example, give students multiple project topics to choose from, or have students determine the weight of each assignment on their final grade at the beginning of the semester.)
  • Be clear about how students will be evaluated and graded. Provide justifications.
  • Take time to assess the classroom climate by obtaining mid-semester feedback from students.
    • Pass out index cards during class for anonymous feedback.
    • Ask students to rate from 1-5 how comfortable they are in class. Also ask for 2 suggestions for how they could feel more comfortable.
    • Conduct a Qualtrics survey for outside of class or iClicker survey during class time.
    • Discuss your findings in the next class and share any changes you will make regarding the feedback.

Additional resources to help you achieve an inclusive classroom:

Benefits & Challenges in Diverse Campus Communities
Creating Inclusive College Classrooms
Teaching and Learning in Diverse Environments: Affirming and Empowering Learners
Talking about race in diverse classrooms
Managing Difficult Classroom Diversity Dynamics
Case Studies in Inclusive Teaching
Growth Mindsets
Diversity Web

PowerPoint, Videos, & Research on Classroom Inclusivity and Diversity

What LGBTQ Students Want You To Know
This compelling video explains what LGVTQ students want university faculty to understand and know.

Big Data Big Picture: Opportunities and Challenges for Diversifying the Faculty

Teaching For Inclusivity

This document provides multiple practical strategies for inclusivity - including teaching strategies that foster learning for all
learning styles. It is a MUST READ for anyone who teaches in the multi-cultural classroom.

High Impact Practices for Underserved Students

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Most faculty believe that being culturally responsive will take valuable "time" away from course content, to the contrary,
being culturally responsive will engage students as learners and they will be more likely to engage with the course content
and you! I've written a brief for you to frame our conversation about what it means to be culturally responsive at CSULB.
This lesson contains some of the most compelling research, to date, on why and how we MUST teach in culturally responsive
ways to foster student learning.

The Beach provides many “non-course” opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to learn about facets of our diverse community. Additional learning opportunities provided by our campus include the following:

Accessibility Training:
Autism Ally:
Safe-Zone, LGTBQ Training (Faculty and Staff):
Students Talk About Race (STAR) Diversity Training Workshop:
Vet Net Ally Awareness Program: