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Diversity & Creating an Inclusive Classroom

Inclusive teaching means "teaching in ways that do not exclude" according to the University of Washington's website on inclusive teaching, and “Teaching for Inclusion:  Diversity in the College Classroom,” an online resource from the Center for Teaching and Learning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These resources provide sound advice on ways to create an inclusive classroom.

  • Show interest in interacting with all students, and not just a particular group of students (for example, students from a particular social or ethnic group, or students who sit in the front row).
  • Make students feel that they belong in your class. Avoid suggesting that certain backgrounds and life experiences disqualify them from being taken seriously as learners.
  • Get to know your students as individuals rather than as representatives of particular groups or assuming they are all the same.
  • Never ask a student to speak for a whole group (e.g., for women, for Hispanics, for Muslims).
  • Accommodate different learning styles and promote collaboration among students.
  • Do not let injurious statements pass without comment.
  • Allow students to disagree with you or others, but within guidelines that promote a safe learning atmosphere in the classroom.
  • Reflect diverse backgrounds on your syllabus, in your readings, examples, and in other materials such as visual aids.
  • Depersonalize controversial topics and structure assignments to let students choose topics with which they are comfortable.


  • Adams, J. Q. and Welsh, J.R. (Eds.). (1999). Cultural diversity: Curriculum, classroom, and climate. Macomb, IL: Illinois Staff and Curriculum Developers Association.
  • Cannon, L. W. (1994). Fostering positive race, class, and gender dynamics in the classroom. In K. Feldman and M. Paulsen (Eds.), Teaching and learning in the college classroom (pp. 301-306). Needham Heights, MA: Ginn Press.