Inclusive education is a lens to consider when we design curriculum, courses, our learning environment, teaching practices, and assessments. We want to provide all students, regardless of their background, with the opportunity to fulfill their own learning potential and to support other students who may wish to learn from them. Inclusive education shifts teaching and learning from being teacher-centered to student-centered.
Inclusiveness is influenced by:
The course content;
Prior assumptions and awareness of potential multicultural issues;
Instructor planning of class sessions and how students are grouped;
Your knowledge about students and their diverse backgrounds;
Instructor decisions, comments and behaviours during the process of teaching; and learning.
We invite you to explore the guide and additional resources below for more information and best practices.
Inclusion and Return to Campus
Anticipate some discomfort as you return to shared spaces. It’s perfectly ok (and expected!) to feel unsure, uncomfortable, and anxious about being together again.
Be patient and have compassion for yourself and others around you as we all adjust to the new normal. Remember to respond to others with kindness and try to suspend judgment as we navigate differences in opinions and perspectives. We are all ‘beginners’, discovering new challenges. It’s expected that we won’t have all the answers right away. We need to learn together.
We will all have our own comfort levels. When you are around others, pay attention to how you feel and notice what makes you feel uncomfortable. Advocate for yourself, and encourage others to do the same. When we share our experiences and articulate our concerns, we invite others to join in our conversations.
Be accessible to your students. Share your own comfort levels with students, and indicate how they can have conversations with you: in person before or after class, via email, discussion forums, etc.
Remember that ‘hot’ or ‘uncomfortable’ moments can be important ‘teachable moments’ to pause and explore together with your students
Allison A. Taylor, Professor, Career/College Prep - Cornwall
"To me, inclusive teaching starts with letting go of any assumptions about my students so that I can effectively meet them where they are - not where I think they are or should be. This allows me to better support them in that moment. There are different ways to achieve the same end result, and I need to be flexible in both delivery and assessment as students' needs warrant.
Approaching students with curiosity and humility about their individual needs, backgrounds, and stories helps build relationships and trust. And more often than not, I end up learning as much as they do!"
Why is everyone talking about UDL?
In contemporary education, you will encounter a lot of acronyms so it's sometimes difficult to remember the impact of each concept on teaching and learning. The concept of UDL, also know as Universal Design for Learning, is a key ingredient to effective instruction as it reminds educators to diversify their teaching approach to accommodate all learners. The implementation of UDL also reinforces the importance of creating accessible documentation so that students may engage with the multiple means of representation.
This section will provides some basic information on UDL as a starting point but will feature more resources as we dive deeper into this concept as part of our teaching practice.
Karen Ducharme, Professor, Career/Prep & Post-Secondary Programs - Kingston
"Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles has allowed me to create a learning environment that is inclusive, where all my students have an equitable opportunity for success. Creating an inclusive learning experience impacts all aspects of my teaching: the design of my course, the delivery methods used to teach the curriculum, my choice of assessments, and even my interactions with my students. My experience using UDL has been quite positive; it has helped me to establish a classroom environment that fosters a sense of belonging and engagement, where students feel supported. "
Exercise: Overview of Universal Design for Learning
We encourage faculty and staff to engage in the following interactive exercise to learn more about the principles of UDL.
Pride Month Resources for Educators
June is Pride Month when we celebrate the gender and sexual diversity of college and community. Please review the following resources to support and celebrate Pride in your classes.