As I was reading this week’s material on inclusive pedagogy, I started reflecting on my own experience as a student through the undergraduate level until today. As I was processing the ideas in Arao and Clemens  and in The Teaching Commons articles I found myself listing the most memorable classes where the classroom felt like it worked for everyone and that we learned the most. I also remembered some of the bad experiences where the professors did not set ground rules and did not promote an environment of mutual respect, unfortunately. However, in this post I focused on practices from the “memorable” classes.
Below I would like to share some of the strategies that I, as a student, felt were effective in fostering an inclusive environment that I would build on when I teach in the future:
Getting to know your students
I have always appreciated it when professors took the time early in the semester to learn more about us, their students. That could be achieved in different ways such as direct introductions with a fun fact or filling out a survey.
Getting to know your students can facilitate communication in the classroom, by learning about their backgrounds the professor can avoid certain things that could trigger some students such as microaggressions that the professor might not have known about before. It also helps the teacher stay mindful to foster an inclusive environment by avoiding stereotypical examples, jokes, or expectations, especially when you know your own biases (no one is perfect!).
Building a community in the classroom
This strategy builds on the previous one in the sense that in addition to getting to know your students you encourage and facilitate students getting to know each other. I think that creating group activities and discussions are an effective way. I often found that collaboration opens the door to increased inclusivity in the classroom and helped me as a student to develop skills for productive conversation. One idea in particular that I enjoyed was when the professor used to create a weekly discussion thread for students to describe their week in one sentence, it could be a high point, something they struggled with, or simply a meme. The level of engagement in that class created a sense of community between students.
Leading by example
One way to set the expectations and rules of conversation in the classroom is to have it mentioned in the syllabus and discussed early in the beginning of the semester. Additionally, another powerful way to help your classroom become more inclusive is to practice certain techniques while engaging in discussions with students which will be teaching them by example. These techniques can be as simple as paraphrasing, recapping what the other person just said before you proceed, focusing on the idea and not the person, use hypothetical questions and so forth.
In the end I hope that by doing this exercise I can leverage this knowledge to put myself on the right track to become an inclusive teacher who fosters a classroom that is a brave space for everyone to learn and be heard and respected.
 Arao, B., & Clemens, K. (2013). From safe spaces to brave spaces. The art of effective facilitation: Reflections from social justice educators, 135-150