I really enjoyed this week’s readings on inclusive pedagogy because I think it is something that we all have to consider as teachers, especially when it comes to implicit biases. We all have grown up with unique experiences, and those views without a doubt shape the way we teach. Understanding how we can be self-aware of it when we go into the classroom will ultimately make us more successful teachers in the long run.
The Georgetown article had some good strategies that I’ve tried to incorporate into my teaching style. For example, the idea that diversity will be present in the classroom is true, and it does not just mean in terms of racially. I teach a public speaking class where I have students from all sorts of majors at Virginia Tech. That’s why we have speeches in the class where they can talk about concepts they have learned about in their major. I think that in turn gets them comfortable talking about something they have a baseline understanding about and as a result makes my class more enjoyable.
In addition, I love getting to know my students on an individual basis. Before classes start, I always play music- mostly older music such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder and “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield. My goal is that hopefully that will get them relaxed heading into class. Also, we do these informal assignments called “impromptu speeches” where I will ask students to share their thoughts on a random topic. For example, last week I ask my students to share their favorite place to eat off campus in Blacksburg and I ended up getting all but one student to participate! Asking our students questions to get to know them personally helps foster a good classroom culture and hopefully brings forth active listeners and engagement.
What do other folks do to promote an inclusive learning style? I would love to be able to take some of your feedback back to my students.