Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Diversity and Inclusion

Effective approaches to teaching and classroom climate are founded on the same principles that drive diversity and inclusion: equal access and opportunity for all students to thrive, honest dialogue about important issues, and protocols for managing difficult, sudden, and emotional moments. Instructors can consider racial and socioeconomic awareness, checking for implicit bias, and developing inclusive classrooms, teaching strategies, and diversity statements.

Socioeconomic status (SES) is a medley of social and economic factors that can seriously impact student well-being and academic performance. Unlike race or gender, SES may be difficult to detect, so instructors can provide active and inclusive teaching methods that enable multiple modes of engagement, achievement, and accessibility.
Implicit bias refers to unconscious attitudes, reactions, stereotypes, and categories that affect behavior and understanding. In higher education, implicit bias often refers to unconscious racial or socioeconomic bias towards students, which can negatively impact their growth. Instructors can consider a variety of strategies and benefits for revealing and addressing implicit bias, both in themselves and their students.
A diversity statement is a paragraph or section in institutional, department, or course language that welcomes the range of human representations. Instructors can use the diversity statement to set expectations for civil discourse, encouragement for varying opinions, and standards of behavior. At root, the diversity statement signals belief that all students have value and bring unique perspectives worthy of consideration.
An inclusive classroom climate refers to an environment where all students feel supported intellectually and academically, and are extended a sense of belonging in the classroom. Inclusive classroom environments are sustained when instructors and students work together for thoughtfulness, respect, and academic excellence.
Inclusive teaching strives to serve the needs of all students, regardless of background or identity. It builds upon an instructor’s basic instinct to ensure that all students can participate fully in the learning process, while expanding perspectives through stimulating discussion and new approaches to traditional and contemporary issues.
A hallmark of effective teaching is racial awareness, where recognition of diversity in the classroom informs teaching strategies. Instructors can use inclusive teaching strategies, incorporate racial diversity into their courses, and moderate class discussions about race in order to strengthen theirs and their students' knowledge of racial and cultural realities.