Inclusive Teaching

When instructors strive to create inclusive college classrooms, they need to consider multiple factors, including course content, class preparation, their own classroom behavior, and their knowledge of students’ backgrounds and skills. The articles in this section offer concrete strategies to address these factors and improve the learning climate for all students.

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Adams, Maurianne; Bell, Lee Anne 1949; Griffin, Patricia S. (eds.). Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A sourcebook. New York: Routledge; 1997.

This edited volume provides strong and detailed attention to three critical areas of teaching for diversity and social justice: theoretical foundations and frameworks that guide pedagogical practice, curriculum designs to address six social justice issues (racism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, ableism, and classism), and an overview of intra- and interpersonal as well as group dynamics that are relevant to social justice education (“Knowing Ourselves as Instructors,” “Knowing Our Students,” and “Facilitating Social Justice Education Courses”).

Fiol-Matta, Liza; Chamberlain, Mariam K. (eds.). Women of Color and the Multicultural Curriculum: Transforming the College Classroom. 1994: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 311 East 94th St., New York, NY 10128.

Note: 390 pp.


Anderson, James A. Cognitive Styles and Multicultural Populations. Journal of Teacher Education. 1988; 38: pp. 1-8.

Differentiates between western and nonwestern worldviews and field-dependent and field-independent learning styles and how they relate to writing styles, classroom learning, and communication.

Bean, Martha S.; Kumaravadivelu, B.; Lowenberg, Peter H. Students as Experts: Tapping the cultural and linguistic diversity of the classroom. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. 1995; 6(2): 99-112.

The challenges of the increasingly diverse U.S. college classroom may at first seem problematic. However, when educators become aware of the broad range of cultural and linguistic behaviors that can inform their particular classroom culture, areas in which students are expert, they can not only defuse incipient tensions but also experience such diversity as a rich resource for alternative models of teaching and learning. The dynamics of the culturally diverse classroom are outlined, and strategies are proposed for reducing miscommunication and expanding understanding of different educational practices and varieties of English that may emerge in the classroom.

Brown, Brenda Gabioud. Pedagogical Reality. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. 1994 Mar. Read more »


Co-sponsored by Rackham School of Graduate Studies, CRLT, and The Program on Intergroup Relations, this series of six three-hour workshops provides foundational knowledge and practice in using a variety of models of group facilitation and dialogue for classroom settings. The program is usually offered once a year during Fall Term.

The program as a whole emphasizes interactive exercises, with the directors modeling and debriefing many strategies designed to elicit and engage participants in numerous forms of multicultural dynamics. The directors provide “mini-lectures” to frame exercises, lead discussions designed to elucidate core principles of multicultural teaching, and lead debriefing sessions about the goals and applications of facilitation techniques. Participants also receive short readings, handouts, templates for facilitation. Each session concludes by reviewing the mechanics of facilitation used during that afternoon.

The program is intended for GSIs who are teaching multicultural content, who want to enhance their ability to engage their students' social backgrounds, or who want to enhance their ability to teach students to work productively with diverse others. Participants will provide a brief statement of purpose before the start of the program. They will receive a certificate of training after completing all six sessions; no partial credit is available.


Shari Saunders and Diana Kardia (1997), Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

Inclusive classrooms are classrooms in which instructors and students work together to create and sustain an environment in which everyone feels safe, supported, and encouraged to express her or his views and concerns. In these classrooms, the content is explicitly viewed from the multiple perspectives and varied experiences of a range of groups. Content is presented in a manner that reduces all students' experiences of marginalization and, wherever possible, helps students understand that individuals' experiences, values, and perspectives influence how they construct knowledge in any field or discipline. Instructors in inclusive classrooms use a variety of teaching methods in order to facilitate the academic achievement of all students. Inclusive classrooms are places in which thoughtfulness, mutual respect, and academic excellence are valued and promoted. When graduate student instructors (GSIs) are successful in creating inclusive classrooms, this makes great strides towards realizing the University of Michigan's commitment to teaching and to diversity and excellence in practice.

In an inclusive classroom, instructors attempt to be responsive to students on both an individual and a cultural level. Broadly speaking, the inclusiveness of a classroom will depend upon the kinds of interactions that occur between and among you and the students in the classroom. These interactions are influenced by: Read more »