From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
A key aspect in creating an inclusive classroom is providing opportunities to get to know students on a personal level. By providing accessibility, students become more comfortable in interacting with their instructor, and instructors can begin to understand how they are perceived by their students, as well as how to meet students needs through differentiated instruction.
How to get to know students personally
- A way in which instructors can begin to get to know students individually is by correctly pronouncing students names. Often times instructors will repeatedly pronounce students names incorrectly without realizing the impact upon the student. A name tends to have cultural and emotional significance to an individual, and in order to create an inclusive classroom environment, each student's name should be pronounced correctly. Obviously, this issue is a difficult one to handle simply due to the fact that mispronunciation is not intentional. One way in which this issue can be addressed is by creating a system where students are given the option to record their names into a database which is accessible to instructors. This technology can aid instructors in the pronunciation of students' names while also making students feel more comfortable in the classroom.
- Instructors should also encourage students to meet with them during office hours. Office hours provide instructors the opportunity to not only learn students needs, but it also allows them to make sure underrepresented students are comfortable in the classroom. Instructors sometimes complain that when office hours are available, students tend not to come. There are a number of strategies in which instructors can use in order to increase the number of students attending office hours:
- - Early in the semester require students to come to office hours once.
- - Have "special topics" office hours to discuss topics of particular interest to you and the students.
- - Check with students to find the most convenient times to have office hours.
- - Clearly explain to students the purpose of office hours.
- - Use office hours as a way to obtain feedback. Discover how comfortable underrepresented students feel in class.
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"Teaching In Racially Diverse College Classrooms." Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Harvard University, 2002. Web. 24 May 2011. <http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/html/icb.topic58474/TFTrace.html>.