The purposes of this online resource are to:
Creating an inclusive classroom is critical to maintaining a welcoming and equitable educational environment that supports student learning. The outcomes of a number research studies point to the importance of inclusivity in the classroom, two of which are highlighted below.
Incidents of bias can occur in the classroom and have the potential to negatively impact the learning environment. In a survey of 333 faculty, 38% reported at least one bias incident occurring in their classroom within the past year (Boysen and Vogel, 2009). Of the reported overt bias incidents, stereotypes were the most common (39%) followed by offensive jokes and humor (20%), avoidance or isolation (12%), slurs (9%), insults (9%), and other types (3%). Regarding subtle bias incidents reported, microassaults (44%) and microinsults (37%) were most prevalent (Boysen and Vogel, 2009). Microassaults were “verbal derogation of a specific group, discriminatory behavior, and avoidance or exclusion,” and microinsults included “assumptions about intelligence or ability, treating people like second-class citizens, viewing other cultures as abnormal, assumptions about dangerousness or criminality, and other stereotypical notions.” (p. 14) Such bias incidents have the potential to decrease students’ sense of belonging, and negatively impact the learning environment.
Social belonging also has the potential to influence academic achievement and well-being, particularly for groups of students historically marginalized. In a controlled psychological intervention study with college students conducted by Walton and Cohen (2011) where the researchers tracked learners from freshman to senior year. Students in the experimental groups were told their freshman year that adversity on campus was a common occurrence and would pass, while control groups did not participate in the intervention. African American students who underwent the social belonging intervention reaped substantial benefits, obtaining significantly higher GPAs and demonstrating improved health outcomes.
These online resources integrate the voices of both students and faculty, and provide a variety of practical strategies for Lafayette faculty to use inclusive approaches in the classroom.