Inclusive Pedagogy

This week’s readings had me thinking a lot about the type of teacher I am. From thinking about the ways I communicate to my students, to considering what kind of subliminal cues I may be emitting, the articles truly had the cogs in my head turning.

Personally, whether I would like to admit or not, I am someone who spends a lot of time overanalyzing the presentations I make and the words I say because I believe that messages have impact. Because of that, the last thing I would ever want is for a student to feel as though I am excluding them in the classroom.  I always make an effort to make my classroom into a safe space where my students can feel comfortable to be themselves, and these days that is done solely by communication over Zoom. I explain often that we are all here to learn, and being a Public Speaking teacher specifically, I know how daunting the class as a whole can be for students who are petrified of speaking in front of a crowd.

Some ways I am able to communicate inclusivity to my students is by explaining that it is completely okay to feel nervous, and that even I do as well from time to time. I make an effort to humanize myself, and show them that its okay to not be perfect. From there, my students usually breathe a sigh of relief because we’re all on a journey together. After all, they are the ones who make me a better teacher, and it is my job to make them better speakers. In addition to that, I also allow for fun “hot seat” exercises on speech days where my students volunteer for me to ask them a random question. That normally makes them feel a bit comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, as well as allows the class to learn a little more about them. They all seem to really enjoy it, and the class as a whole ends up growing together as a community as a result.

3 Replies to “Inclusive Pedagogy”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience teaching public speaking on Zoom. I am taking Communicating Science this semester via Zoom. I find I interact differently on Zoom than for residential courses. I share more often because I am at home in a comfortable, safe place. It also feels easier to be in the “hot seat” because I am at home. I wonder how Zoom influences your students’ nerves when they speak.

    I love that you tell students you get nervous too. I think it is important to bring our whole selves to our classes. I am sure students feel relieved to know even their course instructor gets nervous. I like the way you use random questions to help build community in your courses. It sounds like a good way to help students practice public speaking without less pressure.

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective as a teacher. I appreciate you taking the time for self awareness just as much as you take time to perfect your slides! I still haven’t taught a class yet, but from a student’s perspective I think that having classes over brought a different experience. One of the positive aspects is that people feel more confident when they participate from the comfort of their own home, at the same time it seems like you are still able to give them a healthy dose of “hot seat” exercises, which sounds like a win-win situation to me! All that being said, I miss the in-person classes

  3. Lincoln, thanks for sharing your post. I really appreciate the distinction you make between your job and other important goals you have as an instructor. In the last paragraph you stated your job is to make the students better public speakers, and in the second paragraph you stated your goal of making your classroom a safe space. Sometimes I feel like these two things get conflated and students feel like it is the teacher’s sole job to make them feel safe. Although safe is hard to define, I agree that this goal is important. From someone who doesn’t like public speaking, I think it is very difficult to feel safe when you are speaking in public, especially when you would prefer not to speak. The hot seat exercises sound like an awesome idea. I think the more that I have been exposed to public speaking, the more comfortable I have become with it. The hot seat exercise seems like a great way for students to get more exposure to it in a fun and non-stressful way. Thanks again for sharing your post.

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