Inclusive Learning Environment
There are no “average students”; each and every student is unique: these are the fundamental assumptions of inclusive learning environment (ILE). Providing safe and encouraging space, in which every student feels welcome, is no longer the task of administration (see: Towards a more equal, inclusive higher education, in: Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education: Global Foundations, Issues, and Best Practices, pages 85-87: http://iasas.global/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IASAS_Student-Affairs-in-Higher-Ed-2020.-FINAL_web.pdf).
The changes of the student body have also affected Profession Higher Education. Our institutions must serve students with various needs. Thanks to social progress we observe growing numbers of persons with disabilities. Migration and social mobility, reflected in the demographics of our classrooms, require better understanding for multiethnic and multicultural student body. Across all disciplines and subject taught we can see the impact inclusive learning environment has on learning outcomes, as it is investigated in the article Creating inclusive classrooms by engaging STEM faculty in culturally responsive teaching workshops (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40594-020-00230-7?utm_source=getftr&utm_medium=getftr&utm_campaign=getftr_pilot).
Inclusive learning environment means that every student is treated with due respect and that the academic teacher treats every student as an individual person, with full understanding for different learning styles and different pace of progress. In such inclusive classroom no one is afraid to ask questions and to admit difficulties in mastering taught topics. Providing safe space for every student makes peer learning, innovative collaboration among students, possible, while employing peer learning, academic teachers improve quality of teaching. The report by Professor Christine Hockings, Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: a synthesis of research (https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/uploads/production/document/path/2/2735/Inclusive_teaching_and_learning_in_HEsynthesis_.pdf), provides explanation in what way students profit from ILE.
Inclusive learning environment
Inclusive learning environment – talk
(Estimated time to complete the task: 1,5 – 2 hour)
Do overview a syllabus of your course according to the recommendation of Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (https://www.celt.iastate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/LearnerCenteredMindfulSyllabusChecklist-1.pdf);
- Course Goals, Learning Outcomes, and Learning Objectives
- Describe Course Materials, Delivery, Format, and Components
- Assignments (Papers, quizzes, exams, projects, etc.)
- How will Students Be Evaluated?
It is worth to consider other websites to get some more inspiration for effective inclusive classroom:
- The website of Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (with all subsections): https://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/creating-an-inclusive-classroom/
- Kevin Gannon, The Case for Inclusive Teaching, Chronicle of Higher Education,
- Charles Egbu, Psychological safety is crucial to diversity and inclusion, The Times Higher Education, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/psychological-safety-crucial-diversity-and-inclusion
- Flower Darby, Becoming a more inclusive educator will energise you and your students, The Times Higher Education, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/becoming-more-inclusive-educator-will-energise-you-and-your-students
- The general explanation of the idea of ILE (as explained by Virginia Tech)
- The students’ perspective on ILE