By the end of the session, participants will be able to:
• Define inclusive teaching and describe its relevance in the engineering context
• Reflect on how students’ social identities (and their own) influence experiences in the classroom
• Identify specific inclusive teaching practices for use in a variety of situations
Description of session:
The deliberate use of inclusive teaching practices enable instructors to create a classroom environment that welcomes all students, values their contributions, and supports their success. In this 90-minute workshop, participants will define inclusive teaching, reflect on the impact of social identities on teaching in engineering, and brainstorm strategies to promote an inclusive learning environment in a range of classroom scenarios.
Establishing and promoting an inclusive learning environment in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) has been identified as one key element to improving the retention of underrepresented students (Seymour & Hewitt,1997; O’Neal et. al., 2007), their sense of belonging (Walton & Cohen, 2011), and their ability to learn effectively due to the activation of stereotype threat (Steele, 2010; Eschenbach et. al, 2014). Although underrepresented groups may have the most to gain, teaching inclusively is likely to improve student retention and enhance the academic performance of all students.
To achieve this goal, the role of instructors in fostering these environments is essential. A recent article focusing on gender equity discourse indicates that the majority of STEM faculty were less likely to profess gender intervention discourse which “supports active pedagogical intervention to promote equity in practice” (Blair et. al. 2017). How can faculty create a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive class climate for a diverse range of students when they may not feel equipped to do so?
In this workshop, participants will reflect on their own practice and gain strategies that they can immediately apply in their teaching contexts.
• Definition of Inclusive Teaching (15 minutes): Participants will define inclusive teaching in engineering individually, discuss why inclusive teaching is important in small groups, and exchange ideas with their peers and the presenter about the implications for engineering.
• Social Identities (15 minutes): Participants will reflect individually on their own and their students’ social identities. In pairs, they will discuss reasons why social identities (the instructor and the students) matter in the engineering teaching-learning environment. In their discussions, participants will be encouraged to only share as much or as little as they feel comfortable about their own social identities.
• Continuum of Classroom Climate (40 minutes): Participants will learn about a continuum of classroom climate adapted from Ambrose et.al (2010). It describes classroom situations in one of four categories:
- Explicitly marginalizing – environments that are overtly hostile, discriminatory, and unwelcoming,
- Implicitly marginalizing – environments where certain people and perspectives are excluded in subtle and unintentional ways,
- Implicitly inclusive – environments where there are unplanned instructor responses that validate alternative perspectives raised by students, and
- Explicitly inclusive – environments where the instructor is making intentional choices to enhance students' learning experience.
Participants will review several scenarios and characterize where these situations fall on the climate continuum. They will discuss their ratings and their reasons in partners or small groups. Sample scenarios may include:
- When asking questions, the instructor consistently addresses the whole group and calls upon the first student who raises a hand.
- A student makes a disparaging comment about a political figure, and the instructor ignores it and continues with the lesson.
- The instructor highlights women pioneers in the engineering field.
For class scenarios that are identified as explicitly marginalizing, implicitly marginalizing or implicitly inclusive, the participants will discuss ways to alter the instructor’s choices to promote more inclusion.
• Inclusive Teaching Reflection (15 minutes): Participants will review an inclusive teaching reflection inventory to identify additional evidence-based strategies they might employ in their teaching contexts. They will discuss in partners one strategy they already use and one strategy that they’d like to try in the future. Each participant will make a commitment to choose one inclusive teaching practice to use the next time they teach.
• Conclusion (5 minutes): The presenter will review the key principles discussed during the session and provide the participants with a handout describing the research basis for the inclusive teaching strategies. They will also complete an evaluation of the session.
Dr. Tershia Pinder-Grover received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. She is the Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) at the University of Michigan. In this role, she has successfully integrated inclusive teaching workshops in all orientations for new engineering faculty, graduate student instructors, and undergraduate instructors. She has facilitated numerous workshops in the STEM context on topics such as inclusive teaching, stereotype threat, and teams. This academic year, she designed and facilitated an engineering faculty learning community on diversity, equity, and inclusion for instructors teaching first year engineering courses.
- Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.
- Blair, E. E., Miller, R. B., Ong, M., & Zastavker, Y. V. (2017). Undergraduate STEM Instructors' Teacher Identities and Discourses on Student Gender Expression and Equity. Journal of Engineering Education, 106(1), 14-43.
- Eschenbach, Cashman, Virnoche, Lord, Camacho. Special Session: Stereotype Threat and my Students: What can I do about it? Frontiers in Education, October 2014, Madrid.
- O’Neal, C., Wright, M., Cook, C., Perorazio, T., & Purkiss, J. (2007). The impact of teaching assistants on student retention in the sciences: Lessons for TA training. Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(5), 24-29.
- Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N.M. (1997). Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Steele, Claude M. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010.
- Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science, 331(6023), 1447-1451.
Dr. Tershia A. Pinder-Grover
Dr. Tershia Pinder-Grover earned a B.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1999 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from U-M in 2002 and 2006, respectively. She joined Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan in August 2005, where she coordinates initiatives for engineering faculty, develops workshops and seminars, and consults with faculty and graduate students on a variety of pedagogical topics. Her current research interests include examining the effect of instructional technology on student learning and performance and assessing the impact of peer mentoring programs for GSIs.