An inclusive classroom is one that provides an environment where "all students can be engaged, learn and believe that they matter," according to Dr. Tim McMahon, program development specialist for the Center on Diversity and Community at the University of Oregon. How you treat your students and how you approach your curriculum are key elements of the inclusive classroom. An effective teacher makes all of his students, even the most reluctant, feel comfortable.
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Learn as much as you can about racial, ethnic and cultural groups, especially those of the students you have in your classroom.
Examine your curriculum and pinpoint whose voices, perspectives and scholarship it represents. Determine how you can incorporate more diversity into what you teach and do so.
Learn the names of all of your students, make sure you remember them, pronounce them correctly, and use them to address your students.
Encourage your students to get to know one another. Put them in pairs and have them play icebreaker games, such as telling each other about their favourite things. Have them switch partners until they get to know several people in the class.
Explain to your students that in classroom discussions, all are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions. Tell your students that they are free to disagree with each other, but they cannot allow their disagreements become personal.
Thank your students for sharing their opinions at the end of the class discussion.
Tips and warnings
- Never make assumptions about your students based on what you know about racial, ethnic and cultural groups.
- Encourage your students to ask for clarification if they don't understand each other's thoughts or opinions during class discussion.
- As you encourage your students to participate in classroom discussion, be persistent. You may have to remind students on a daily basis that they all should participate.
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