Inclusive Pedagogy

How to implement inclusive pedagogical practices? Inclusive pedagogy requires a good¬† understanding of the differences among students, teachers and any other person that might be involved with a teaching environment. These differences include but are not limited to: identity, interests, background knowledge, and much more.¬† Understanding these differences is fundamental in order to incorporate and integrate teaching practices that make everyone feel safe and incorporated. One of the greatest challenges within pedagogical practices is that they often tend to be monotonous and structured in a way that does not seems natural, engaging or interesting. Having an understanding of where your students are at in terms of class material and fundamental concepts that are considered “background knowledge” or things that they “should know” because they took “x” and “y” class, is crucial to develop lectures. Students will not only meet the requirements of the class but will also improve their learning experience. Additionally, taking the time to get to know who you are working with or instructing can promote learning experiences that are more relatable to students which can enhance their sense of belonging and make them feel more included.

Having inclusive pedagogical practices can break barriers in the classroom. Students are more prone to participate and feel like they can contribute to class when they feel welcomed and encouraged to be there. Having students that feel motivated and eager to take part of class discussions is beneficial for both the instructor and students. Increased student participation opens the opportunity for further discussion of topics because being scared of being wrong is less of a dominant feeling, which opens a window for a more active participation and learning.

4 Replies to “Inclusive Pedagogy”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that, as instructors, we need to be able to understand where our students are coming from in order to do our best teaching. Sometimes, even if a student has taken a prerequisite, they may have missed something and not learned something they were supposed to. This could affect their ability to perform in their current class because the student may not be able to understand what you are teaching without learning the foundational principles. Additionally, making students feel accepted and comfortable is important to engendering an inclusive learning environment.

    1. I agree with Lara here. The last sentence of your first paragraph is very powerful. You wrote “taking the time to get to know who you are working with or instructing can promote learning experiences that are more relatable to students which can enhance their sense of belonging and make them feel more included.” I think you are really on target here and I appreciate your clear statement here. It’s all about developing relationships with students, in your classroom community, and when you do that, something magical (enthused learning) happens!

  2. I agree with both Sarah and Lara . This is a very powerful post and it is so true that making your students feel welcome is vital to their learning. At times, I myself have trouble remembering this, in the sense that it isn’t a conscious effort to make sure my students feel welcome, and I am working on being better about it. I personally find it more difficult to do this when teaching online, because I don’t get a lot of feedback from students (their cameras are mostly off and they don’t give a lot of facial or verbal response), so I worry that I am either too welcoming or not welcoming enough. I hope that it gets easier to develop these relationships when I get to teach in the classroom again, but no matter what, this is an important thing to be thinking about all the time.

  3. Hi KPEREZRIVERA,

    You are spot-on in observing that getting to know what background knowledge do the students have is crucial for preparing lectures.
    I can share my experience during my Master’s. It was a construction management program. Almost 90% of students were from a civil engineering background, and only 10% were architects. But most of our professors taught the courses with the majority in mind. I found my architect friends always struggling to relate to things taught in class because they did not have the “right” background knowledge.
    Diversity comes in many forms. As a classroom instructor, the first thing we should do is understand the fundamental differences in every student and create a baseline from where everyone can gain maximum from the class.

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