Do I practice inclusive pedagogy?

The questions that sparked in my mind after hearing this topic “Inclusive pedagogy”, was: “Can I say, I practice inclusive pedagogy?”. Yes, I obey and tell my students to obey the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, but is that it? What more I can do to create an ambience in my class that it can be termed inclusive pedagogy? I do make groups in my class in a certain way (discussed later*), will you term that as an inclusive pedagogy? To be clear with the topic, I went thorough few of the readings for this week. The article, “From safe spaces to brave spaces”, though discussed in a context unfamiliar to me, still I think the authors’ elaboration with the case study clearly reflects the meaning of a safe space and how it can changed to a brave space. The discussion on the ground rules seemed much effective, helping me understand how I can better enforce the spirit of inclusiveness in my classroom. The ground rules stated were as follows: Agree to disagree, Don’t take things personally, Challenge by choice, Respect, No attack.

Implementing the ground rules in my classroom: In my introductory engineering classroom students are divided into groups to work on their project. The ground rules can be implemented and can be very useful in this context. After reading the article, I think, I should not only state Virginia Tech Principles of Community but on the same day conduct a good discussion on the ground rules, where I can elaborate on each of these rules and students can reflect from their experience. This discussion is as important as ethics discussion in class, since it will always help students to work and communicate in a diverse population, at the same time help the classroom to be more inclusive in nature. Students usually make team contracts where they write rules that they can follow when there is any type of conflict or scheduling clashes or rules for meetings, etc. Here students can also include these five ground rules, which should assist them in their communication with their varied team members.

*An attempt I make on creating a safe space: Students in my class usually fill out a survey with information on their technical background, which help me to make their project groups. Each group will have students having diverse technical competency. Another factor is that, in these groups of five to six members, I usually try to keep at-least two international students and keep gender balance, so that no one feels a loner in a team. I try not to make a group of one girl and 5 boys or vice versa. Sometimes, after announcing the teams in the class, when I see I have kept a girl/boy in a team where the other gender is dominant (being not able to interpret the gender from one’s name), I ask that person personally taking him/her to a side, if they feel un/comfortable working in that group. I do not want my action to jeopardize someone’s comfortability throughout a semester, and affect their creativity and work. For many students this has not been an issue but I found two people, who felt happy after changing their groups.

Do you think my way of making groups is an act of inclusive pedagogy? Do you think the idea I presented in the para 2 will work?

15 thoughts on “Do I practice inclusive pedagogy?”

  1. Hi, I liked the idea of highlighting the ground rules in person as well as your conscious attempts on balancing diversity. I agree that assuming the students know the ground rules does not always work, reminding them not only function as reminders but also shows how we value those as instructors.

    Regarding the group projects, after seeing many international students (coincidence, for sure), hanging around to find a group but often failing , I started to add an extra prompt to the instructions like “please add a clearly elaborated, particular perspective of diversity in your project (which can be from a different culture, ethnic/racial background, sexual orientation, class, disability etc.). It seems to work that I realized not only the international students but also the other students who has not-so-visible diversity stories were welcomed & accepted in the groups. Yet, since almost 98% of my students are women, I can not even think of a balanced sex distribution 🙂

    1. Hey Yesim,

      Can you explain the idea of “extra prompt”. that sounds interesting but I did not get the full idea here. What will that prompt help us in knowing?

  2. Hi, I like the way you approach inclusive pedagogy. Having everyone know the rules they will follow during the semester is an excellent way to make everyone accountable and want to collaborate more with the team. The way you try to form the teams is excellent in my perspective; I think that it is a good way to make sure teams are balanced. I wonder how this translates when they go out of the university and into the industry. Sometimes there are places that are not very diverse and they will see that they are the only guy/gal in a work environment. Maybe what they learned in your group will help them to start changing that environment. I will try to implement what you do when I get a chance to teach a class.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey,

    Good take noninclusive pedagogy, it all starts with us as individuals. I see you attempted to provide a more inclusive environment for your students by balancing the sex within the groups. I also liked that you tried to provide personalized attention to the students. Creating an inclusive environment where students are comfortable to express themselves is important to the learning process.

    good post

  4. Wchodzę sobie na forum, a tu taki ciekawy wątek. Fajne macie podejście do niektórych spraw. Jak dobrze, że ludzie są tak różnorodni, w przeciwnym razie umarlibyśmy z nudów.

  5. Czasami warto usiąść w fotelu i pomyśleć o tego typu sprawach. Fajnie, że są ludzie, którzy chcą się dzielić swoimi doświadczeniami z innymi za pomocą Internetu. Co byśmy bez niego dziś zrobili, ehh…

  6. Myślę, że wiele z powyższych wypowiedzi są trafne. Z częścią się nie zgadzam, ale wynika to raczej z moich osobistych przekonań, aniżeli samej treści wypowiedzi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *