Inclusive Teaching

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:

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  • 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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Situating Your Work

Teaching through community engagement is a powerful exercise for all involved. Thinking through the purpose of community collaboration, forms of engagement, and desired student learning outcomes helps faculty members clarify the many decisions they make in creating or revising a course with community connections. This page helps instructors become more aware and explicit about the framework of their course, as well as discover questions and resources that others have found useful.   

Purpose

U-M students, like the faculty, have a broad range of purposes as they explore courses on community engagement. Some are seeking basic information, some want to engage critically with ideas like community, equity, and power, some are advocates for social justice, and others want to hone skills for activism. These different motivations overlap, and they can lead to one another over time. Being explicit about the different kinds of purposes a course can serve helps students locate their own development and can generate valuable discussion. Talking about the different kinds of skills that instructors and community members cultivate also helps students locate themselves on a trajectory toward future work.  Read more »

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In any discipline or field, a key goal as well as challenge is supporting the learning of all students. Through programs, consultations, and resources, CRLT supports teachers in creating learning environments where students of all identities and backgrounds can flourish. This page features a range of online resources that define inclusive teaching and provide specific strategies for practicing it.

CRLT Resources

Overview of Inclusive Teaching at the University of Michigan: This webpage provides a definition and overview of inclusive teaching and its research basis.

The Research Basis for Inclusive Teaching: This webpage provides an overview of the kinds of evidence that demonstrate inclusive teaching practices can benefit all students' learning.

Principles and Strategies for Inclusive Teaching: This document lists specific strategies for fostering four dimensions of inclusive teaching. Instructors can use it to reflect upon practices they already use or might adopt. Read more »

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