During our lunch and learn discussion, “Building a Inclusive Classroom,” faculty members provided their best practices for building inclusive learning spaces. In the spirit of inclusivity, they have offered to share them with us and the college community.
Many of the faculty focused on the way they set an inclusive tone during their first day and first weeks, including sharing the responsibilities of syllabus creation, policies, and schedule. Some of the faculty also talked about how to maintain this spirit of collaboration throughout the course by “checking in” with students and providing methods of on-going discussion and conversation.
Building the Environment for Learning
- Establishing shared responsibilities and classroom rights on the first day
- Collaborating on due dates and the course schedule
- Co-creating student-paced class/unit “guides” that serve as checklists and enable students to envision learning outcomes for the week
- Doing a “check-in” at the beginning of class: where are they with the material? what are the “ah-ha!” moments? the muddiest moments?
- Asking students to choose the discussion topic and/or choosing “discussion leaders”
- Helping students to develop their own classroom policies, i.e., late work, attendance, rubric and assignments
- Using discussion boards for ongoing course discussion
In addition the classroom environment, faculty members provided their best practices for creating inclusive assessments of student learning. As one faculty member noted, “it’s important that assignment provide students with an opportunity to ‘show off’ what they know.”
Building the Tools for Assessment
- Giving students the opportunity to propose an alternate assignment or project if they feel it will benefit them
- Having students complete a “group test” where they provide evidence and justifications for their answers
- Encouraging and facilitating peer review sessions for final papers
- Voting on the structure of projects and the types of exams
Look for more about inclusivity in the classroom in our upcoming professional development and our continuing blog series on the topic. Thank you to all the faculty who provided these best practices.