Ever sit in a small group an not feel like you are part of the group? Ever feel like you don’t belong and that you are not like the others in the group? If so, you probably didn’t feel good in such a setting. You probably wanted to leave this group in search of a group where you felt valued and included.
In a way, our classroom is just such a group setting. It is comprised by several individualizes with a somewhat common current learning objective coming together from all walks of life to learn. As facilitators, it is our role to ensure that everyone feel included and that we establish a learning environment that encourages our students to take safe risks, make errors and learn accordingly.
How do we do this? There are many resources such as this article for strategies to inclusive teaching. However, I think the most important part of implementing any strategy is to role model such behaviour in a genuine manner for your students. Be positive in your feedback and make the students feel good about themselves and their opinions. Help students realize that each person’s perspective is a gift that they are offering the group.