Inclusive Teaching Tip

Inclusive Teaching Tip

Contributed by Dr. Ramona Bell, Associate Professor, CRGS and Co-Director ODEI

Inclusive teaching strategies refer to any number of teaching approaches that address the needs of students with a variety of backgrounds, learning styles, and abilities. These strategies contribute to an overall inclusive learning environment, in which students feel equally valued. “Even though some of us might wish to conceptualize our classrooms as culturally neutral or might choose to ignore the cultural dimensions, students cannot check their sociocultural identities at the door, nor can they instantly transcend their current level of development… Therefore, it is important that the pedagogical strategies we employ in the classroom reflect an understanding of social identity development so that we can anticipate the tensions that might occur in the classroom and be proactive about them” (Ambrose et. al., 2010, p. 169-170).

Some benefits of inclusive teaching are:

  • You can connect with and engage with a variety of students.
  • You are prepared for “spark moments” or issues that arise when controversial material is discussed.
  • Students connect with course materials that are relevant to them. 
  • Students feel comfortable in the classroom environment to voice their ideas/thoughts/questions. 
  • Students are more likely to experience success in your course through activities that support their learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds.

How can you teach inclusively?

  • Be reflective by asking yourself the following:
    • How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students? 
    • How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?
    • How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class?



Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M. & Lovett, M.C. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Armstrong, M.A. (2011). Small world: Crafting an inclusive classroom (no matter what you teach). Thought and Action, Fall, 51-61.
Hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
Kaplan, M. & Miller, A. T. (Eds.). (2007). Special Issue: Scholarship of multicultural teaching and learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (111).
Warren, L. (2006). Managing hot moments in the classroom. Retrieved from:
Salazar, M., Norton, A., & Tuitt, F. (2009). Weaving promising practices for inclusive excellence into the higher education classroom. In L.B. Nilson and J.E. Miller (Eds.) To improve the academy. (pp. 208-226). Jossey-Bass.