Inclusive Teaching

You may have heard about the recent trending on Twitter of #BBUM, a series of tweets featuring brief student perspectives on "being black at Michigan." Some of the statements are about numbers while others are about interactions: being the "only one" in a class, or being expected to be a spokesperson.

#BBUM being the only black person in class, and having other races look at you to be the spokesperson whenever black history is brought up.
— Terra (@_myPrivateJET) November 19, 2013
 
#BBUM the mental debate you have with yourself if you should ignore a remark by someone or speak up
— Lauren Elizabeth (@Foreign_Lo) November 19, 2013
 
#BBUM is working in study groups and your answer to the question always requires a double check before approval.
— Young Old Head (@LoooseCannon) November 19, 2013

Knowing such experiences and dynamics are present in U-M classrooms, what can instructors do? Read more »

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CRLT Players performing (dis)Abilities in the Classroom

What obstacles to student learning might you inadvertently be introducing into your classroom? How can you plan courses and lesson plans in ways that effectively anticipate a range of student abilities? What resources and practices can help you work with students who disclose learning disabilities? What are good strategies for fostering respect and understanding about learning disabilities within your classrooms?

Participants discussed all of these questions in a recent workshop with the CRLT Players on "(dis)Abilities in the Classroom." Using theater to prompt reflection and discussion, the session explored various challenges faced by U-M students with learning disabilities and provided concrete strategies for instructors to support students in navigating those challenges. As emphasized by this CRLT Occasional Paper, students with disabilities are attending and succeeding at U-M in increasing numbers. As our classroom communities become more diverse in this way, it's critical for U-M teachers to anticipate and respond productively to a range of student abilities in their classrooms.

CRLT Players performing (dis)Abilities in the Classroom

During the workshop, participants brainstormed a wide range of teaching strategies that echo the best practices for inclusive teaching recommended by the CRLT Occasional Paper as well as U-M's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office. As their Faculty Handbook--a great resource for all U-M teachers--explains, many strategies for anticipating or accommodating students with learning disabilities are simply good pedagogy.

Specific teaching practices suggested at the workshop include: Read more »

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With the beginning of the semester just around the corner, many instructors are strategizing about how best to start productive classroom conversations. Students who speak even briefly at the beginning of a class meeting are more likely to participate in discussions going forward, and a well-chosen icebreaker can help everyone join in. As quick, low-stakes, and often fun activities that involve students at the beginning of a session, icebreakers can be a good way to learn about who's in the classroom, reduce anxiety, and engage all students in thinking together about course content.  

CRLT provides examples of icebreakers and guidance for using them in the Handbook on Departmental GSI Development. We also recently polled our Graduate Student Instructional Consultants (GSICs) to gather a list of their favorites. Here are some good ideas we received when we asked the GSICs to "tweet" us a particularly effective icebreaker they have used, seen, or heard about: Read more »

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Getting ready to meet your Winter Term classes? As you gear up for a new semester, it's a great time to make sure you're keeping a broad range of students in mind. CRLT provides many resources to help you effectively teach diverse students, no matter what your area of specialization. One of our "Preparing to Teach" resources, this page on Creating Inclusive Classrooms offers concrete guidance on several aspects of inclusive teaching, including:

students on a snowy campus

  • course content
  • classroom dynamics
  • instructor assumptions

For additional resources to support your teaching of U-M's diverse student body, you can visit our Multicultural Teaching page or click on the "Multicultural Teaching" link at the bottom of any CRLT page. The printed version of our GSI Guidebook--distributed to everyone who attends one of our GSI Teaching Orientations and available to U-M instructors upon request--also contains helpful guidance on these issues, including the chapter "Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom" from Barbara Gross Davis's book Tools for Teaching. More general resources to help you finalize your Winter Term plans can be found on our Preparing to Teach page (under the "Resources and Publications" menu above).

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