Inclusive Teaching- My Experience

I got my undergrad and master degrees in my country. We do not have international students and number of women are more than men in universities. Also, all people have almost the same cultural background and are from the same race. Therefore, as a person lived in a Middle East country, I could not understand why we need inclusive pedagogy. However, my experience was different during past two years in the US and I understood why the inclusive pedagogy is so important.

One of my best friends is an African male student. He got his master degree from another university in the US.  We have passed a lot of courses together during past two years.  He always thinks that TAs give him a lower grade because of his name or race! He repeats this sentence almost every time we get our grades in some courses. I thought it is definitely wrong. However, we had a course that we could work on homework together. Although our solutions were same, sometimes he got a lower grade than me. I am not sure it was because of his name but it is really painful that somebody always thinks his grade will be lower than others because of his name or race!

In one of our seminar courses, he had this feeling that the instructor thinks his ideas in discussions are funny and worthless. I could also feel that but I was sure the instructor does not mean that consciously.  He decided to do not participate in discussions anymore. I think he was very sensitive about the instructors’ behavior. However, instructors should be more careful while discussing with students and they always should convey safe environment impressions.

These two examples were my only personal experiences. Before the last session, I never thought gender issues can result in a problem for students in classrooms.  I have learned some inclusive teaching strategies during past week. However, I think, as I have a little experience, I need to know more and more about it…

3 thoughts on “Inclusive Teaching- My Experience

  1. Thanks so much for this, Milad. While my heart aches for your friend who recognizes that his work is not being evaluated fairly, I’m glad that seeing how this kind of prejudice works has helped you recognize that it is a problem. Awareness is the first, and often most difficult step. I hope we can identify ways in class to help address the problem.

  2. Amy Hermundstad says:

    Thanks for your post! It is really interesting to hear about higher education in other countries and to hear about your experiences in the United States. Thanks for sharing! It makes me really sad to hear about your friend’s experiences and the unfairness that he experiences because of his name and race. Being a female in engineering, I often got frustrated with the learning environments in engineering and the feeling that I didn’t have a voice in my engineering classes. And because of that, I am really excited to learn more about inclusive pedagogy too!

  3. Cortney Steele says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I don’t know much about the educational systems in other countries and have lived in the U.S. my entire life so it’s nice to get different perspectives. I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. Much like was expressed in the article about the book The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam, sometimes unconscious messages are sent unknowingly. Which I of course hope was the case for that instructor. The classroom should definitely be open to student’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas. And all students should feel safe speaking freely!

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