Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning
The key goal in education is supporting the learning of all
students, which comes with challenges and opportunities. Creating a
inclusive learning environment where Rutgers diverse student population
can flourish is paramount. Efforts to create this environment of
inclusion transcend discipline and school. Current research has shown
that inclusive teaching supports all students' success.
Multicultural Education & Culturally Responsive Teaching
Multicultural education is everything within a school that guarantees the goal of ensuring educational equality of students from diverse backgrounds (Banks, 2015). Gay (2002) defines culturally responsive teaching as instruction that incorporates experiences and culture from different ethnic groups of your students to teach more effectively. Bank's first principle as the role of professional development programs in ensuring teachers understand various cultural and ethnic groups. It is critical as an instructor to ensure that you are taking steps within your classroom to reduce prejudice and the first way in which to do this is to ensure that you are aware of your own beliefs you bring into your classroom.
Some suggestions for instructors include:
- Use student's prior knowledge as a foundation for new information. Make sure to tease out what students already know about the subject, and at the same time correct any misconceptions they may have.
- Provide opportunities for students to discuss or bring their culture into the classroom and incorporate it into their learning.
- Include references to researchers and historical figures within the discipline from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities.
- When selecting course materials consider who they were written by and why.
- Include opportunities for cooperative instead of competitive cross-ethnic activities.
- Ensuring high standards and expectations of all while providing accomodations for differences. One way is to provide some choice for students such as in project medium or perhaps the topic of a paper.
All humans have certain biases. Every person also carries implicit biases - these are the beliefs, attitudes, or stereotypes that impact your thoughts and behavior in an unconscious manner. Moss-Racusin, Dovidio, Brescoll, Graham, and Handelsman (2012) found that both male and female science faculty from research-intensive institutions had moderate pre existing biases against women and theorized this could be a reason more women are not moving into STEM fields. As an instructor, the first step is to recognize those that you may hold. There are now multiple tools that you can utilize to determine your implicit biases.
- The Harvard Implicit Association Test is one of the most popular tools which allows you to take a ‘test’ online to determine your implicit biases.
- The EQUIP (Equity Quantified in Participation) app is an observation tool to look at an individual’s biases in the classroom. This was designed by a Michigan State University professor to help instructors recognize their own implicit biases.
There are many pervasive stereotypes in cultures. Stereotype threat is a person’s fear of proving a negative stereotype correct about a group they are associated with and research has this to negatively impact student performance (Marx, Monroe, Cole, & Gilbert, 2013; Steele & Aronson, 1995). Interventions that support theories of intelligence and growth mindsets have been found to mitigate the effect of stereotype threat on student persistence and performance (Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002; Good, Aronson, & Inzlicht, 2003).
You may have heard about growth and fixed mindsets through the dissemination of Carol Dweck’s in mainstream publications. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that individuals are born with a certain amount of intelligence and you can’t do much to change it while someone with a growth mindset believes that they are capable of learning and intelligence in malleable (Dweck, 1999). Everyone holds beliefs that are fixed and some that are growth. No one is completely one or the other and it can also depend on what you are topic or subject or skill you are involved in at that time. You can have greater growth mindset tendencies in mathematics but more fixed mindset tendencies in english. To move closer to a growth mindset we should be aware of fixed mindset beliefs and tendencies.
There are some ways that you can support and promote growth mindsets in your classroom (Boaler, 2013; Dweck, 2015):
- Praise students’ process, not their achievement. For instance, instead of saying “Great job - you got an A on this test!” say “You have been working hard and your improvement shows it!”
- While process and effort is important, discuss with students different study strategies that may be more productive for their learning. Learning should not be sacrificed to “well she tried really hard”.
- Demonstrate that you appreciate mistakes - they are a necessary step in learning.
- Activities in class should provide opportunities for “productive struggle” - this is where students are challenged and they may struggle with their learning, but they are able to move ahead with support from resources. It is natural for an instructor to want to assist their students, but you have to be careful that your helping does not completely eliminate the challenge of a task.
- Remember that you are the expert within the discipline - model behavior and thought processes for your students. For instance, try completing a problem in class that you have not prepared for and have never done before. Relate your thought process and don’t be afraid of making a mistake.
Rutgers has a variety of initiatives to create and support a inclusive environment across the institution.
- Student Affairs has created and supports the #RUIDProject which spotlights the diverse backgrounds, experiences, identities, and reflections of Rutgers students. There is also a place for any member of the Rutgers community to report a bias incident.
- The principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is strongly
aligned with creating inclusive environments and culturally responsive
- The Office of Disability Services and the Office of Information Technology have some resources on Universal Design for Learning.
- There is a Universal Design for Learning Training Course in Canvas that any Rutgers community member can join
Resources from Other Institutions & References
- The AAC&U publishes a journal on diversity issues - Diversity & Democracy
- The Education Alliance at Brown University supports equitable educational opportunities for all students
- A Guide for Inclusive Teaching (Columbia University)
- An article in the Faculty Focus from Magna Publishers recently addresses Culturally Responsive Teaching and UDL
- Educause published an article Toward Inclusive Learning Spaces: Physiological, Cognitive, and Cultural Inclusion and the Learning Space Rating System by Richard Holeton who is one of the developers of the Educause Learning Space Rating System 3.0
- Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit from ACUE
Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(2), 113-125. doi:10.1006/jesp.2001.1491
Banks, J. A. (2015). The dimensions of multicultural education. In Cultural diversity and education: Foundations, curriculum, and teaching (6th ed., pp. 3-22). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Boaler, J. (2013). Ability and mathematics: The mindset revolution that is reshaping education. FORUM: For Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education, 55(1), 143-152.
Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. New York, NY, US: Psychology Press.
Dweck, C. S. (2015). Growth. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), 242-245. doi:10.1111/bjep.12072
Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 106-116.doi:10.1177/0022487102053002003
Good, C., Aronson, J., & Inzlicht, M. (2003). Improving adolescents' standardized test performance: An intervention to reduce the effects of stereotype threat. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,24(6), 645-662. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2003.09.002
Marx, D. M., Monroe, A. H., Cole, C. E., & Gilbert, P. N. (2013). No doubt about it: When doubtful role models undermine men's and women's math performance under threat. The Journal of Social Psychology, 153(5), 542-559.
Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 109(41), 16474-16479.
Nieto, S. (2008). Affirmation, solidarity and critique: Moving beyond tolerance in education. In E. Lee, D. Menkart, & M. Okazawa-Rey (Eds.), Beyond heroes and holidays (pp. 18-29). Washington, DC: Teaching for Change.
Steele, C.M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African-Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 797-811.