A new mindset for teaching
If you are considering making changes to your classroom, whether it be adding diverse perspectives, teaching cultural awareness or creating a more inclusive class, you need to start somewhere. Inclusive classrooms and courses that discuss diversity issues cannot be designed with a checklist or rubric. Specifically, being inclusive in your teaching is a process in which you work with your students to get to know their perspectives and add their voices to your class. Here we offer a place to start when redesigning or creating a class to be more inclusive or teach multicultural issues.
Start with Your Own Self Reflection
One of the first steps for creating an inclusive classroom or teaching multicultural awareness is self-awareness and self-reflection. Before someone can begin to understand differences between one’s self and others, they must first take the time to reflect on who they are. We recommend all instructors interested in being more inclusive take the time to self-reflect first.
- Want to Become more Culturally Competent? Start with your Cultural Self-Awareness – An associate professor from IESE Business School discusses the importance of building your own cultural self-awareness.
- Here are a few recommended books to force inner reflection:
Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, Blind Spot by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald , Whistling Vivaldi by Claude Steele, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and Cheating Lessons by James M. Lang
Facilitate Self Reflection with your students
Whether you are teaching a multicultural content course, asking your students to dig deeper into the value of diverse perspectives and experiences, or creating an inclusive classroom environment your students will need the opportunity to reflect on themselves. Here are a couple examples of how to facilitate self reflection with your students.
- Ask students to watch TED talk video on “Growth Mindset” and write a one-page paper on how their academic behavior can reflect a growth mindset (or use similar prompting questions as this educational version offers).
- Discuss how life experiences and identity influence scientific inquiry of scientists. Ask students to reflect on how their lives influence their interests and career choice. Example scientist interviews available at Confluence: Series of interviews with biological scientists here at URI.
Include Diverse Perspectives & Coordinate with campus diversity coordinators
Using videos of experts in your field and guest lectures from professionals in the community are great ways to bring new perspectives and dialogue into the classroom. At URI, we have many Departments and Resource Centers on campus, that are happy to work with faculty on topics in the classroom. Collaborating with diversity coordinators informs students about the support systems on campus and demonstrates the open communication between academic departments and diversity departments on campus.