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Fostering inclusive classrooms: A beginning discussion and opportunity to keep talking
Fostering Inclusive Classrooms was the topic of Dr. Angela Byars-Winston’s recent CIRTCast seminar. Students from the CIRTL Network’s Diversity in the College Classroom course joined students, faculty and staff from around the Network explored concepts of multiculturalist pedagogy and shared ideas about inclusive course design and classroom practices.
Dr. Byar-Winston asked participants to share what identities or social position affect how we learn. Responses included being a parent, Puerto Rican, Muslim, a black woman, living rurally, being white, senior by age and from a postcolonial society. Moving to a broader disciplinary perspective, we reflected on how the knowledge we have acquired in our discipline is shaped by the scholars who have contributed that knowledge. Discussion of that revolved around who does the research, who gets the money, whose research is reported, and how research can be based on unrepresentative samples and extended to disparate groups.
In the hour, we really just scratched the surface. For instance, how does being a parent, Muslim, black woman, white, senior or rural affect how you learn? Specifically what has been your experience? Or in what ways can learners be encouraged to challenge the taken-for granted knowledge in a given field? What are some ways your teaching can better reflect diversity of your students?
Luckily, if you are interested in pursuing any of these questions or posing some of you own, CIRTL has developed a new space for that. We invite you to join our discussion forum at our Learning through Diversity Online Learning Community site (http://www.cirtl.net/learningcommunities/ltd). Anyone interested in diversity in teaching and learning and in creating inclusive classrooms is encouraged to join in a discussion or get a new discussion rolling. We invite you to share your perspectives so that we can all benefit from a diversity of voices and experiences.