"One thing we’ve learned is that one size does not fit all. People are very varied in terms of their background. They’re very varied in what they bring to the table. And they’re very varied in what they’re interested in. It’s quite clear that the future of learning is going to be much more personalized. Much more adapted to your needs, your interests and your goals." - Robert Lue, LabXchange founder
Welcome back to our inclusive classrooms series! As the release of two new Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity in Science Education (RDEISE) learning clusters approaches, we’re taking a closer look at inclusive teaching principles and strategies. We’ve shared an exclusive preview of the RDEISE project, and discussed what makes a classroom inclusive and why it matters. This month, we share some specific strategies and ideas for creating an inclusive learning environment.
Evidence shows that Black students and other students of color, disabled students, LGBTQIA+ students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students from other marginalized groups continue to face challenges within the classroom. The legacy of racism can be seen in the disproportionate underrepresentation in STEM fields of racialized groups such as Black Americans. To increase diversity in science and diverse leadership in science, teachers must be equipped with inclusive teaching strategies.
“A top priority for me was to make my classroom resources equitable for all students, and allow students to progress at their own pace.” Uma Mahajan, GREEN Charter School, Greenville, SC
While inclusive teaching as a concept and practice is for the benefit of all students, the specific barriers faced by students from marginalized communities, such as Black students and other students of color, can be addressed in an inclusive classroom. Using the 5 key characteristics of an inclusive classroom identified in the animation “What is an Inclusive Classroom,” we share some useful strategies, examples, tips, and ideas for educators aiming to create inclusive learning environments.
General strategies for creating an inclusive learning environment:
“Building relationships with students is crucial. Learn what interests them and then use that to drive your instruction.” - Autumn Rivera, 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year
It's also important that all students have opportunities to actively participate, can pose ideas and construct their knowledge of the course content, have the time to think, and are explicitly welcomed into intellectual discussion of the course content.
Finally, all students should be able to make a personal connection to the course material:
Our forthcoming Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science Education (RDEISE) program, created in collaboration with leading scholars and experts, will provide educators with high-quality curricular materials and evidence-based antiracist and inclusive teaching tools to use in the classroom. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date.