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Creating an inclusive classroom culture

Using Community Agreements

Community agreements are statements that guide how members of a classroom community (students, instructors, TAs) will work and interact with each other. Establishing community agreements is an inclusive teaching strategy that supports a positive class climate and fosters student learning, academic success, and a sense of community. Community agreements can also serve as a roadmap for how to productively address the conflict that is a natural part of any community.
Learn more about how to create community agreements.

Addressing implicit biases and microaggressions

As Derald Wing Sue, a scholar of microaggressions, has noted “All of us are socialized into the society, and it really is the height of arrogance or naïveté to think that any of us are immune from inheriting biases that are deeply embedded in this society and culture. They come out in ways that we’re not aware of.” Often those biases manifest as microaggressions, which are brief verbal or behavioral slights or dismissals that negatively impact a member of a marginalized group. Microaggressions can be intentional, but are often unintentional and are rooted in the implicit bias to which Sue points.
Learn more about how to address microaggressions in academic environments.

Facilitating class conversations in the wake of distressing current events

Our classrooms (whether physical or virtual) do not exist in a vacuum. They are sites in which both students and faculty may be processing emotions engendered by distressing current events. This guidance includes strategies to help you foster thoughtful and difficult conversations in light of unsettling current events, particularly those that evoke strong emotional responses and significant disagreement.
Learn more about facilitating class conversations in the wake of distressing current events.

Responding to conflict and disruption

Even when instructors have taken steps to create inclusive learning environments, conflict and disruption may arise. The conflict may be the result of someone disregarding the class community agreements or may emerge from someone’s response to difficult or controversial content. While each situation will be somewhat unique, it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking in advance about how to respond.
Learn more about how to respond to conflict and disruption in the classroom.