Those interested in creating an inclusive learning environment know that remaining up-to-date on the latest theories and ideas can help them create an optimal learning experience. Here are four articles that offer an excellent starting point for any education professional.
The inclusive learning environment
An inclusive learning environment will provide students of all abilities with the opportunities they need to learn and thrive. These students have the chance to engage and learn with peers from a variety of backgrounds, strengthening their soft skills and creating a rich learning environment that will prepare them for the professional world.
Creating an inclusive learning environment, however, requires a considerable amount of effort as teachers learn more about how to nurture the strengths and learning needs of everyone in the class.
These articles will walk educators through some important points to keep in mind as they build their classroom cultures and environments.
In this article, the author Maryellen Weimer explores the importance of helping students develop the right mindset about learning. When students approach their studies with the optimal attitude, they increase their ability to learn and absorb the material in front of them. When these misconceptions are allowed to persist, however, they can be very disruptive for student learning and make it harder for them to get the most possible out of the course they take.
Drawing heavily from Stephen Chew’s work, “Helping Students to Get the Most Out of Studying”, Weimer explores four important misconceptions that instructors need to help students dispel to guide them towards success. She identifies the four important errors to be:
Students can learn the material quickly
That students can learn by just memorizing random facts or definitions
That some students are simply innately better or worse at certain subjects
That students can study well while 'multi-tasking'
When building an inclusive learning environment, effective teaching will work to dispel each of these myths. By helping students to understand the best ways to absorb the information contained within a given class, teachers will enhance the students’ learning experience.
Here are the key takeaways to absorb from this article.
With the right mindset, students can learn far more and reach their maximum potential in your class. Teachers have the capacity to help students develop this mindset. Many students will come to class with several damaging misconceptions, but by identifying them and focusing on banishing them from the students' thought patterns, teachers can transform their classroom and the experience of their students.
This article by Brian Runo offers instructors a great introduction to the idea of using backward design when it comes to creating outstanding lesson plans and assessments. To improve learning in an inclusive classroom, instructors want to focus on guiding their students towards concrete, measurable goals. They want to help their students absorb important information so that they are ready for the next phase in their education.
Backwards design provides instructors with an excellent way to build on this idea. It turns the traditional form of lesson planning and assessment creation on its head. Instead of working with general lesson plans and then creating assessments based on the targeted content, it works in reverse.
By defining the concrete goals that the teacher wants to accomplish in the classroom first, the lesson can then be developed to communicate these key ideas as clearly as possible. This enhances the ability of the teacher to organize their thoughts, go into their lesson planning knowing exactly what they want their students to accomplish, and create lessons that focus on the most important information within the topic.
As you read this article, focus on the value that this backwards design model offers educators. It enhances instructers’ ability to identify and teach towards their learning objectives while also ensuring that the objectives are assessed correctly and that the content itself is relevant to the goals of the lesson.
With backwards design, teachers will work on three main steps.
Identify their desired results for the lesson.
Create their assessment.
Build lesson plans that support the assessment.
As digital technology continues to evolve and change daily life for people around the globe, it also has had a tremendous impact on educators and their classrooms. Teachers strive to help their students understand their subject material and prepare for the professional world. As the nature of accessing knowledge, communicating, and thriving in a business setting changes, however, education must also adapt to ensure that students still receive the best possible preparation.
As this article by So-Young Kang explores, students need to adapt to a new paradigm of learning. The rapid growth of the mobile workforce, the ease with which people can access information through the internet, and the potential disruptions of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation all call for students and teachers to adjust the way they learn and communicate knowledge.
For an inclusive learning environment, educators will need to explore how to best prepare students for the learning and jobs of the future. They will need to help their students adjust to these changes so that they enter the professional world prepared and ready to thrive.
To make this leap towards the workforce of tomorrow, however, teachers need to understand the measures that can be taken to improve learning and guide students towards the skills they need for the modern workforce.
The key takeaways from this article revolve around digital disruption and the changes that modern society has had on the traditional approach towards learning. Classrooms need to focus less on knowledge and simply delivering a set of facts. Instead, armed with the understanding that facts are now accessible everywhere and immediately, skills have become the new medium of change.
Students cannot learn soft skills, such as problem solving or communication, by watching a video or listening to a lecture. Instead, teachers must change their learning approaches to create a new learning paradigm that will enhance participation in the classroom. The inclusive learning environment should focus on creating experiential learning and on-the-job learning experiences.
Reflecting on EHL’s International Scholarship of Teaching and Learning event, this article explores the future of higher education and how educators can learn to improve in their craft. Summarizing points from a number of speakers who are among the best in their field, this piece offers insights into some of the latest thoughts within the industry.
Educators at this conference offered their ideas on how teachers can nurture a mindset that will help them reflect on how they educate and how they can improve. Inviting educators to consider the emotions involved in education-- including motivation and joy, along with how to drive academic integrity in students, and how to nurture an instructor's unique teaching personality, this piece offered valuable insights for those cultivating an inclusive learning environment.
To create a strong environment of inclusiveness, teachers need to understand how to take their instruction deeper through collaboration and regular reflection on their methods and outcomes. Teachers in these classrooms cannot shy away from the potential emotions found in the environment, but instead should focus on how to nurture motivation and engagement through those emotions.
The content also dives into interactive learning strategies, which can be invaluable for those who want to engage their students on several levels.
The valuable insight from this article lies in its information about preparing a new generation of lifelong learners. This will require not only improving teaching and learning practices, but also cultivating a changed mindset. Instructors must take the time to reflect on their practices, while their institutions support them in terms of budget, time, and qualified faculty developers.
A bonus article for some extra enrichment!
Those who want to improve their teaching should also examine this article about the importance of choosing the right partner. Alexia Muteke-Ceppi explores the importance of finding candidates for a partnership that meet certain criteria. By identifying and meeting these criteria, this partnership will be strengthened, allowing it to accomplish its objectives and remain sustainable in the long term.
Strategic partnerships can provide immense value when establishing an inclusive classroom. It can provide additional learning opportunities and resources that empower the teacher to provide each student with the best possible education.
As emphasized in this article, educators should pay attention to the importance of finding a partner who has a shared vision and who brings their own skill set to the table. They should align well with the original benchmarks that you wanted to accomplish.
Evaluating the partnerships should also be done carefully and with the end goal of the partnership in mind. Making sure that everyone is well aligned in the goals for the partnership will help ensure that the pairing will thrive in the long term and will achieve the best possible results.
Creating an inclusive classroom can help establish an environment where all students have the opportunity to learn and prepare for their future careers. Learning how to set up such a classroom, however, takes careful effort and dedication. Investing a few minutes in reading these articles provides an excellent starting point to build the understanding needed to nurture a thriving inclusive learning environment.