Pie chart featuring four categories of inclusive teachingInclusive Teaching

What is an “inclusive classroom”?

In inclusive classrooms, all students feel supported to learn and explore ideas, safe to express their views in a civil manner, and respected as individuals and members of groups; they view themselves as people who “belong” in a community of learners. Inclusive classrooms support rigorous academic work and deep learning by all students.

“Inclusive classrooms are places in which thoughtfulness, mutual respect, and academic excellence are valued and promoted,” write Saunders and Kardia in Creating Inclusive College Classrooms. “In an inclusive classroom, instructors attempt to be responsive to students on both an individual and a cultural level.”

The strategies suggested for inclusive teaching help all students, not just those from traditionally marginalized groups, and are practices consistent with Elon’s values.

Read more about why Elon faculty care about inclusive teaching.

How can we make our classrooms more inclusive?

Faculty to take a multidimensional approach, suggest Maurianne Adams and Linda Marchesiani in AAC&U Diversity Digest article. We need to consider both what we teach and how we teach, and we need to know our students and know ourselves.

How we teach can involve decisions about day-to-day teaching strategies (including what not to do), setting up an effective classroom environment, policies and syllabi, assignment design, assessment, handling difficult moments, and making your good intentions known – all which affect/with the goal of improving student learning.

What we teach can involve choices about class content in terms of topics, materials and course goals to reflect one’s knowledge of disciplinary challenges and trends with the goal of stimulating critical thinking and engagement.

Knowing your students means being able to understand the challenges and strengths they bring to your course and increasing their capacity to learn and your ability to teach, connect with/build rapport with, motivate, and support  them.

Knowing ourselves (as unique individual and as instructors) can lead us to effective, authentic, research-based teaching.

Please explore the pages of this site, and reach out to CATL staff for more conversation or additional specific resources.


Want a checklist of good research-based inclusive practices? The University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching provides one.

Or download the Inclusive Teaching Guide from Columbia University.

Support our site

The purpose of this website is to provide resources to faculty members about inclusive classrooms. It is an evolving site and suggestions are appreciated.

Do you have information to contribute? Contact Mary Jo Festle at festle@elon.edu