4 Inclusive Teaching

Three students at the RLB Library
Students collaborate at the RLB Library. Image provided by the University of Baltimore.

Fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus requires ongoing commitment and work. When students feel valued and respected, their educational experience is more enriching and they are more likely to meet their learning goals. Read on for some brief tips, but remember, this is only a starting place.

Self Reflection

Inclusive teaching starts with self-examination. Take time to reflect on your own culture and educational background and consider how it affects your work with students. What biases (conscious or unconscious) might be impacting your relationships?

Use Diverse Content, Materials, and Ideas

  • Include language, examples, socio-cultural contexts, and images that reflect the breadth of human diversity.
  • Model openness to the new ideas and questions your students bring into the course.
  • Be aware of how your professional training and background may have shaped the selection of content and materials in your course.
  • Allow students to have a say in course content by providing options for reading materials or allowing students to facilitate and direct parts of the course.

Create an Inclusive Environment

  • Communicate clearly about what you expect to happen in the classroom, including your expectations for respectful and inclusive interactions.
  • Involve students in the development of classroom norms.
  • Include a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement in your syllabus and uphold it.
  • Set and enforce ground rules for respectful interaction in the classroom.
  • Get to know your students and the individual perspectives, skills, experiences, and ideas that they bring into your course.
  • Encourage students to add their pronouns and preferred names to their Sakai profiles. Reference the roster to gather this information.
  • Communicate high standards for student learning and achievement in your course and express confidence that every student can achieve these standards.
  • Show respect for all questions and comments.
  • Encourage students to “think out loud,” to ask questions, and to actively consider perspectives that are different from their own.

Encourage a Growth Mindset

  • Foster a “growth mindset” by conveying the idea that intelligence is not a reflection of fixed abilities, but can change and grow over time.
  • Help students develop a growth mindset by speaking with them about the extent to which experiences of academic faltering can provide opportunities to grow and improve.
  • Create an environment in the classroom in which it is okay to make mistakes.
  • Be open to the possibility that what seems to be an incorrect answer initially may lead to a shared understanding of an alternative way to answer the question.

Strive for Equity of Access to Instruction and Assistance

  • Help your students learn about academic and non-academic assistance and resources that are available.
  • Promote fairness and transparency by sharing the criteria you will use to evaluate their work with students.
  • Ensure that assistance provided outside of class is equally available and accessible to everyone.
  • If students approach you to let you know that they are in need of a disability-related accommodation, direct the student to get in touch with Disability and Access Services (DAS).

Gather and Use Feedback to Refine and Improve

  • Ask a colleague or CELTT staff member to observe your teaching.
  • Consider suggestions about how to encourage increased participation and inclusion of diverse contributions.
  • Don’t rely solely on formal course evaluations for feedback! Provide opportunities for students to reflect on the course and to give you feedback on the methods and strategies you are using. Informal “temperature checks,” anonymous surveys, and open feedback forms can help integrate feedback throughout the semester.


Information on this page was adapted from New America and Greer (2020). See reference page for full citations.


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Online Teaching Handbook Copyright © 2021 by The Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Technology at The University of Baltimore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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