Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive Teaching

What is inclusive and equity-focused teaching?

Inclusive teaching strives to create a learning environment in which all students have equal access to learning regardless of their background or needs. It is: 

  • Learning-centered: it uses key principles from learning design that start from what students should know or be able to do in order to determine what content needs to be covered, how students will demonstrate their learning, and what methods and policies underpin their experience 
  • Welcoming: it gives all students access to learning, helps them recognize that learning is happening, makes them feel like they belong and can succeed, and provides the support needed to do so
  • Intersectional: it considers different and often overlapping forms of inclusion and exclusion, such as on the basis of race, native origin, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability. As coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, “intersectionality” describes the way that social categories are interconnected and overlapping. People may belong to multiple categories that, when combined, create different and complicated relationships to privilege and disadvantage. 

Inclusive teaching cultivates this environment not only because it motivates students and sets them up for success but to attempt to “offset the negative effects of systemic inequalities that students experience in educational environments”  (Daniels and Schoem 2020).

To learn more about how we approach inclusive teaching, view the video below, or view the slides and read the transcript.

Video resources:

How can I make my teaching more inclusive?

Faculty Development offers several tools to promote inclusive teaching:

  • Inclusive Teaching Inventory: Reflect on your teaching and ways that it can be made more inclusive using this Inclusive Teaching Inventory. What are you doing already? What can you improve? Where should you seek out more support or resources? 
  • Syllabus Reviews: 
    • Review your syllabus through an inclusive teaching lens using our syllabus review guidelines
    • If you would like a member of the Faculty Development team to conduct a syllabus review for you, email datias@gwu.edu. 
  • Transparent assignment design: Like syllabi, assignments are the core of your communication with students. Transparent assignment design can help ensure that students know the purpose, tasks, and criteria for success for assessments and activities. The TILT Project’s research-validated Transparent Assignment Design template is a great tool to help you reflect.
  • Assessment of teaching: Faculty Development can partner with you to conduct classroom observations and mid-semester student feedback sessions using an inclusive teaching lens.  

What other resources does Faculty Development offer?

For an up-to-date list of effective teaching and digital accessibility workshops, many of which focus specifically on inclusive teaching practices, see our workshop calendar.

We also offer resource guides on the following facets of inclusive teaching:

What inclusive and equity-focused teaching efforts are happening at GW?

Additional Resources: Inclusive Teaching in a Broader Framework

Making your courses welcoming, accessible to, and representative of all students is a part of a larger effort that includes working towards equity and justice as well as access. There are many perspectives, best practices, and potential approaches to inclusion. 

Here is a list of resources by specific topics as well as free online courses available for further study. 

How instructor identity affects how students respond to inclusive and equity-focused teaching practices:

Anti-racist pedagogical practices:

Gender identity and sexual orientation: 

Indigenous identity and colonialism: 

Free online courses: