Diversity and Inclusion Resources

Barbara Gross Davis (2009), in her book, Tools for Teaching, synthesizes research on teaching diverse students to provide these strategies for creating an inclusive classroom:

  • Treat each student as an individual and avoid generalizing about entire groups of students.
  • Monitor the climate in your classroom to make sure students students feel comfortable contributing. Invite students to share with you any concerns they have about the climate.
  • Introduce discussions of diversity at department meetings. Review how curricular requirements, student engagement opportunities, and other practices are inclusive.
  • Convey the same level of confidence in the abilities of all your students. Set high expectations for all students. Don’t try to “protect” any group of students. Don’t refrain from criticizing the performance of individual students in your class on account of their ethnicity or gender. And be evenhanded in how you acknowledge students’ good work.
  • Be aware of possible misinterpretations of students’ nonverbal behavior. Students from some cultures may have different understandings of behaviors such as pausing or eye contact.
  • Use inclusive language and examples.
  • Recognize your own culture-bound assumptions.
  • Assign group work and collaborative learning activities since they will help to reduce prejudice and bias when students interact with others.
  • Aim for an inclusive curriculum that reflects the perspectives and experiences of a pluralistic society. Do not assume that all students will recognize cultural, literary or historical references familiar to you.
  • Bring in guest lecturers to enrich your class.
  • Give assignments and exams that recognize students’ diverse backgrounds. Seek to use a variety of names in your classroom examples and test questions.

Resources

For Further Reading

  • Recognizing and Addressing Cultural Variations in the Classroom ( Carnegie Mellon University)
    An online handbook for instructors to help them deal more effectively with today’s diverse classroom populations. Describes the areas of possible culture clash in U.S. classrooms and offers suggestions for instructors in areas such as expectations, skill development, teaching practices, and grading.
  • Diversity and Inclusive Teaching (Vanderbilt University)
    This site contains a great deal of information to help you create a classroom that is open and inclusive.
  • Creating Inclusive College Classrooms (University of Michigan)
    This article details specific strategies for creating a classroom climate in which all students feel safe, supported, respected, and equally valued. Covers such issues as inclusive course content, managing classroom activities, and dealing with problematic assumptions.
  • Diversity in the Classroom (Yale University)
    Promoting diversity is a goal shared by many in American colleges and universities, but actually achieving this goal in the day-to-day classroom is often hard to do. The goal of this teaching module is to highlight a few of the key challenges and concerns in promoting diversity, and illustrate ways to incorporate an understanding of diversity in the classroom and beyond.
  • Teaching Tolerance
    The Teaching Tolerance blog is “a place where educators who care about diversity, equity and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation and support.”