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Inclusive Classrooms

Inclusive classrooms have an explicit and purposeful focus on aligning course content, norms, assessment, and instructional practices to provide equitable learning experiences opportunities for all students.

The resources here provide you with evidence-based and hands-on information to help you engage your students in successful learning experiences to ensure that all students have high-quality, equitable and meaningful opportunities to learn mathematics.

Represent the diverse world of who does mathematics 

Connect mathematical ideas to the various cultures throughout history that contributed to them. Show mathematical names and faces that reflect the broad diversity that is mathematics. Be intentional when selecting multimedia (images, videos, blogs), required readings, and illustrative examples so that your course site and curriculum reflect the diverse people, voices, and viewpoints that make up the mathematics profession. Be thoughtful about the gender pronouns you use in describing who does mathematics. Draw connections between the mathematics in your classroom and its uses outside of school.

Set explicit expectations for inclusion   

Your syllabus is often the first thing a student sees, and can create a strong first impression. Include policies and resources that help all students to be supported in their learning process. Describe the importance and relevance of diversity and inclusion in and out of your classroom. Engage students in discussion about communication norms at the of a course as an essential step in fostering community and creating a productive learning environment. When working together, remind students about ways to ensure that everyone's input is valued and included. 

Establish a zero-tolerance policy 

Even if students know that you expect inclusive and respectful interactions, controversial issues or behaviors sometimes bubble to the surface. These behaviors might be explicitly abusive or offensive, or might be more subtle, through processes such as microaggressions or implicit bias. Rather than shying away from these incidents, address them directly. Making Uncomfortable Conversations Productive can help you work through these incidents with your students to move forward wither greater understanding and inclusion.

Learn and use students’ preferred names and gender pronouns

Students’ preferred names may not always match what is on your course roster, and may not be pronounced as you expect. Invite students to teach you how to pronounce their names and to tell you their preferred pronouns. Help students present their preferred names in their profiles in your Learning Management System and on live meetings.

Let them know you're listening  

Throughout the course, let students know that you want them to succeed. Help students know you and each other through interest surveys, informal polls, and small-group activities that provide opportunities to develop a sense of belonging and community. Be flexible to accommodate personal issues, stress, family responsibilities, health problems or other life circumstances. Know the counseling, disability, advising, and other services available to students and refer them when they need it, without stigma or judgment.

Ensure course materials are accessible.

Making your course media accessible benefits all of your students. This includes rendering videos, images, and documents in ways that are accessible to people with a range of hearing, visual, or other limitations. Learn more about accessibility in moving mathematics online

Offer flexible office hours   

Remove barriers to students meeting with you by offering a variety of times (time of day and length of meeting), formats (e.g. video conference, phone call, text message, email), and structures (e.g. one-on-one and in groups).


Find more ideas and resources

Here's an example of Designing a Culturally Responsive Geometry Curriculum by Joseph Russo at the University at Albany.

The Association of College and University Educators Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit

Inclusive Teaching and Anti-Racist Teaching from The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University.

EQUIP is a tool you can use to collect data about successes and barriers to equity and inclusivity in your own classroom

Inclusive Teaching and Learning Online from the Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning.

Diversity and Inclusion from the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University.

Create a Positive Classroom Climate for Diversity from Diversity & Faculty Development at UCLA