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  • Why do we care about inclusive teaching?

    At FIU, we strive to ensure that every student feels welcomed and valued as a member of the Panther community. It is our belief that through inclusive and culturally responsive teaching, our faculty can create learning environments that leverage diversity, student backgrounds, and lived experiences, as resources for learning and success (Ginsberg & Wlodkowski, 1995; 2009; Hammond, 2015).

  • FIU's Model of Inclusive Teaching

    Although there are several theoretical models from which to draw from in this area, FIU primarily relies on Ginsberg & Wlodkowski's (1995) framework for culturally responsive teaching to guide our philosophy and programming on inclusive teaching. Ginsberg & Wlodkowski's framework—which is heavily influenced by psychological theories in motivation and engagement—is characterized by four individual but connected components: establishing inclusion; developing attitude; enhancing meaning; and engendering competence.

     The following are characterizations of each element of the framework—including examples of how each component might look like in the classroom:

    Establishing Inclusion: Creating a learning environment in which learners feel capable, respected, accepted, and connected to one another.
    • Guidelines for respectful learning and interactions
    • All students feel comfortable asking questions like their ideas are valued, and like they are treated with respect
    • Students’ lives and cultures are represented
    • Emphasis on awareness and feeling of connection
    Developing Attitude: Creating a favorable disposition toward the learning experience through personal relevance and choice. It's important that teachers first acquire some understanding of students' existing knowledge of subject matter, interests, and cultural background.
    • Classes are taught with students’ experiences, concerns, or interests in mind
    • Students make choices related to learning that include experiences, values, needs, and strengths
    • Students are able to voice their opinions
    Enhancing Meaning: Creating challenging learning experiences that include learners' values and perspectives, past experiences, emotions, goals, and an awareness that their state of mind influences the learning process.
    • Student participation is active; they are challenged
    • Questions go beyond facts and encourage different points of view
    • The teacher builds on what students already know
    • The teacher respectfully encourages high-quality responses
    Engendering Competence: Recognizing the varied ways in which students can perceive meaning and authenticity, then developing assessments that account for these differences.
    • There are clear criteria for success
    • Grading policies are fair to all
    • Assessments take into account students’ perspectives
    • There are multiple ways to reach standards/demonstrate learning

     

  • Inclusive Teaching in the Classroom

    Incorporating inclusive/culturally responsive teaching does not require a comprehensive change to course design or content. In fact, inclusive/culturally responsive teaching practices can be easily embedded into existing course structures.

    Below is a list of common course structures and pedagogical elements and provides specific examples of inclusive/culturally responsive teaching practices for each:

    Class Discussions:

    • Ask students to take turns speaking
    • Consistently invite every member of the class to participate
    • Attempt to activate students’ relevant background knowledge
    • Make corrections by mirroring correct form

     Lecturing:

    • Start lecture with a brief overview of main points covered in the previous class session
    • Give your students tips on effective note taking
    • Encourage native English speaking students to provide their notes to ESL students
    • Collect notes occasionally and provide students with feedback
    • Allow students to compare notes in small groups

     Cooperative Learning (i.e., group work):

    • Start lecture with a brief overview of main points covered in the previous class session
    • Give your students tips on effective note taking
    • Encourage native English speaking students to provide their notes to ESL students
    • Collect notes occasionally and provide students with feedback
    • Allow students to compare notes in small groups

    Course Goals & Objectives:

    • Develop clearly defined learning goals and provide a rationale for each goal
    • Identify resources that might help your students as they work towards those goals

    Assessment:

    • Provide students with some degree of choice in assessment methods
    • Develop clear instructions and questions
    • Ask students for feedback on the clarity of assessment tools