What Does Inclusive Teaching Mean to You?
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What Does Inclusive Teaching Mean to You?


(electronic chiming) To me, inclusive teaching means including diverse cultural
experiences and backgrounds, as well as the diverse
personalities that exist out there into the classroom. At Columbia, students come from
an international background and a variety of cultural experiences. How could they perceive this
particular theory, for example? I don’t think we can
foster critical thinking without being inclusive in the classroom. I’m a teacher of art history and I think it’s a matter
of putting the question of inclusion and exclusion on the table and art history’s a
really good way to do that because art history is always a question of inclusion and exclusion. For me, the fact that my
Hispanic Studies department often focuses on Spain,
I really do appreciate when professors in that
department take the time to include inter-sectional
identities of Latin America. Inclusive teaching often
requires a space in which students feel empowered enough to speak and yet no one student is the spokesperson for their identity or various identities. I think inclusive teaching
is the attitude that, as your teacher, it’s my responsibility to help you if I can. Just letting people know that it’s good to ask questions and really great thinkers
ask great questions too. Really great problem
solvers ask great questions. That’s the first step to
really success in anything. Positivity, positivity
and a constructive attitude towards the error because the error in a foreign language class is the student’s biggest enemy. If you build a safer environment where the error is an indicator
of the language process and the language learning and not a lack of proficiency, students are more willing to participate,
more willing to learn and feel like they can
do more and achieve more within the classroom. Inclusive teaching for me is a moral imperative and it’s a mindset. It’s a way of thinking and behaving that I believe can be taught and practiced in the classroom. The meaning of inclusive teaching I think has changed for me over time. When I was an undergraduate
at Columbia in the 1990s, a lot of the focus was
on how do we diversify the offerings of the university. How do we diversify things
like the core curriculum or other areas of the
university’s instruction? I think that now, as a faculty member in the Astronomy department, I see that there’s been a flourishing
of centers and programs that address inclusivity intellectually, but I’m not sure those efforts have really percolated throughout the university and certainly not into
my field in astronomy or into the natural sciences. For me, it remains a concern. How do we make our teaching more inclusive even as our classrooms
become more diverse? (electronic chiming)

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