GRAD 5114 Post 2: Inclusive Pedagogy

As teachers or instructors, we always want to our class to be in a good learning environment for all students. Inclusive pedagogy is a method that instructors and classmates work together to create a creative and supportive environment in which everyone has the equal access to learn. I realize it personally when I finally teach a course for the undergraduate this semester. After teaching for a few weeks, I find it is crucial and necessary to pay attention to the learning environment in which every student could learn something in it.

The most important learning environment is that students can discuss and ask any question about the class. Many students will ask different questions and some questions maybe viewed as “too easy” for some students but still, as an instructor, I think this kind of question should be paid attention to because students are really unable to understand instructors’ points and that is why they ask suck kind of “too easy” question. I use quotation mark here because I want to express questions are not actually easy and they are just easy for some students. I always tell the students that the only stupid question is you do not ask question if you have one.

Another valuable experience I would like to share about forming a supportive learning environment is about the cooperative work between instructors and students. As a instructor, I consider myself as one step ahead of students in terms of knowledge rather than learning ability. That is why I would like learn something from the students, such as how they look at the ideas I present in the class. Also, their intuitive minds sometimes are valuable as students will propose questions from their real life rather than from the textbook. In most of the cases, I learn how to explain something in the textbook with plain language. I always believe that if one research can explain his/her research clearly to common people who have no knowledge in this field, he/she really understands the essence of his/her research.

Published by Zhenyu

The third-year Ph.D. student from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.

3 thoughts on “GRAD 5114 Post 2: Inclusive Pedagogy

  1. I do think it is really important, as you’ve said here, to make it clear that all questions are welcome. It is not a good feeling as a student to have a question about the material and not be given a clear answer, or to be ridiculed for asking. Indeed, I feel like the classes I learn the most from are classes where all questions were answered very supportively. On the topic of being inclusive, however, I do think it is also important to address other viewpoints when answering a question that deals with more social topics, especially if said question comes from a place of very limited perspective.

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  2. I find interesting the way you describe the inclusive classroom as collaborative environments between instructors and students. Given your experiences, we as instructors also learn from students in multiple ways. I agree with this, as I have found myself learning perspectives and even I have found students advancing my knowledge from their work.

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  3. You raise a good point about students feeling comfortable in class to ask questions and understanding that the students engage with the course content in different ways so their understanding of the material may vary. Although a question may be one that another student has the answer to, there may be other students with similar. I have found that the online learning structure has impacted students’ participation in the classroom to ask questions. I repeatedly invite students to my office hours because I have the same one or two students willing to turn on their Zoom video and audio to ask a question. There is something to be said about structuring an inclusive environment in-person or online so that students feel that the proper elements are in place to allow them to participate in the classroom (virtual or otherwise).

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