July 28, 2022
My university hosted an Inclusive Teaching Summer Reading Group that focused on the book What Inclusive Instructors Do – Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching, published in 2021. Unfortunately, because of my field/meeting schedule this summer, I wasn’t able to participate in any of the Zoom discussions with my colleagues. But the book title was enough to draw my attention and make me want to read the book on my own. I share some of my thoughts and reflections here in this post.
For those that have not yet had an opportunity to see this book, you can download the first chapter for free from the Stylus Publishing website. There is also an open access article relating to the book’s content published in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education titled A Tool to Advance Inclusive Teaching Efforts: The “Who’s in Class?” Form.
The Foreward of the book (page x) nicely summarizes core lessons from the book, when responding to the question, what do inclusive instructors do?
- They take responsibility for making their teaching and their curriculum inclusive
- They continue to learn about both their students and teaching
- They care about and for each and every student they teach
- They change their teaching based on evidence about the practices that support and challenge all students to thrive
The themes of “equity and belonging” are present throughout the book, emphasizing that instructors can design learning environments for all students to reach their potential within a welcoming space that fosters a sense of belonging. And it is important to note that instructors may already be using techniques that support inclusive teaching, but perhaps aren’t using the phrase “inclusive teaching” but instead classifying their approach as multicultural education, culturally-relevant education, and/or universal design for learning (UDL). Each of these frameworks, and more, support an inclusive classroom.
Lead author of the book, Tracie Marcella Addy, was featured on Episode 394 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast. The podcast episode website is linked here, with the audio file also provided below and a link to the transcript.
The book suggests inclusive practices we can utilize starting with the design of the course and writing of the syllabus, to the actual in-class or online instruction. I appreciate how each chapter is filled with Reflection Questions along the way and ends with a summary of Key Points. For example, Chapter 3 discusses syllabus design, and I will be incorporating the suggestions of having a welcoming statement articulating the benefits of diversity in the classroom, delineating different forms of meaningful participation, and ensuring that students understand the “networks” as suggested by UDL for the what, why, and how of learning. I am also considering the use of a “professor memoir” to introduce myself and speak about my own successes and challenges throughout my life and career (p. 91).
The end of the book includes a Who’s in Class? form which is a tool instructors can use to help understand student learning and design for inclusive instruction. The form is also available in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education article linked above. I will do a separate follow-up post on this form, as I look forward to attending a Zoom session with my colleagues to discuss its implementation.
To hear more about the book from its authors, please view this video from Stylus Publishers’ Author Webinar.
I’ll end this post with a quote from the final chapter that serves as an important reminder that our work is not done when we finish reading the book:
“Being an inclusive instructor is an ongoing process that involves learning, mistakes, persistence, reflection, and a willingness to adapt teaching practices to a diverse student population.” — Addy et al. (2021), p. 152
Some of the additional blog posts on GeoEd Trek that describe inclusive teaching/approaches include:
- Using learning analytics in courses via Review, Amend, Apply
- Getting students to create a course purpose statement
- The “golden line” as an inclusive and equitable classroom strategy
- Centering identity for inclusive teaching [AAAS-IUSE]
- Take 5… grading for equity
- Making a first impression with your syllabus
- Pronouns in the classroom… to ask, or not to ask, and how to ask
- Online is a good time to start calling the “office hour” by another name
- Are your students prepared for a fully online course? Find out by asking them.
- Dr. G’s #AGU19 Spotlight – Invisible Rules in the Classroom
- What it means to students when you can pronounce their names – and when you can’t