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Inclusive Pedagogy Toolkit

Resources to promote understanding and adoption of inclusive pedagogy.

Podcast Episodes

Teaching in Higher Ed

Sylvia Kane shares about inclusive pedagogy on episode 241 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast.

Talking About All Things Inclusion

In this conversation, Dr. David Rose talks with me about his own learning experiences and the adults that made a difference in his world. We talk about how these experiences led to him developing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as framework for inclusive education and his hopes for UDL as it evolves to meet the needs of today's diverse learners and educators. 

Tea for Teachers

Many of us strive to be inclusive in our classrooms but may not have the training to be as effective as we want to be. In this episode, Dr. Amer F. Ahmed joins us to explore inclusive pedagogy and to encourage us to consider our roles as both instructors and learners in intercultural contexts.

What is Inclusive Pedagogy?

Diversity is a fact, inclusion in an act. - Zabeen Hijri

Inclusive Pedagogy is defined by this guide as an instructional pedagogy concerned with making learning materials and teaching methods accessible to as many students as possible by considering a range of diverse student identities, including race, gender, sexuality, and abilities and centering these diverse identities in developing educational practices.

The ACRL Instructional Section summarized the history and evolution of Inclusive Pedagogy 5 Things You Should Read About... Inclusive Pedagogy 

“Inclusive education” as a term was first discussed in primary and secondary education of the 1980s as part of disability justice advocacy and the desire for students with disabilities to have access to mainstream educational opportunities and resources (Kozleski and Yu 2016). This thinking was later expanded to all forms of human diversity with the view that all learners should have opportunities to participate in education, focusing particularly on areas where learners are marginalized by race, gender, class, ability, socioeconomic status, and sexuality. Additional uses and meanings of the term have since emerged (Kozleski and Yu 2016). In higher education, the term “inclusive pedagogy” was brought into use by Professor Frank Tuitt in 2003, and is compatible with a family of pedagogies such as critical pedagogy, engaged pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, liberatory pedagogy, open pedagogy, humanizing pedagogy, and Universal Design for Learning, among others. Inclusive pedagogy in higher education draws on work by Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Henry Giroux, and Peter McLaren. Tuitt conceived of five components to inclusive pedagogy: 1) faculty-student interaction, 2) sharing power, 3) dialogical professor-student interaction, 4) activation of student voice, and 5) utilization of personal narratives (2003). Inclusive pedagogy in information literacy and library instruction is tied to questioning and dismantling dominant knowledge systems that have long excluded and marginalized certain learners.

(S. Bluemle, A. Petrovich, L. Roberts, L. Ross, and R. Wishkoski, 2020)

Here's how some universities are defining and describing their inclusive pedagogy policies and practices: 

University Statements

Increased access to higher education has resulted in multiple dimensions of diversity in our classrooms. Inclusive pedagogy embraces this diversity and aims to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant, and accessible. 

Students are more likely to persist and thrive in university settings where:

  • Their capacity to succeed is built, reinforced, and maintained throughout their time at the institution.
  • There is high-quality and frequent student-faculty interaction.
  • They can make meaningful connections with the content.
  • Interactions within the classroom convey a positive learning climate.

These are all elements of inclusive pedagogy.

Inclusive pedagogy at its core is a student-centered approach to teaching that faculty create an inviting and engaging learning environment to all the students with varied backgrounds, learning styles, and physical and cognitive abilities in the classroom. Drawing from a large body of the scholarship of teaching and learning, it is clear that inclusive pedagogy improves learning outcomes when faculty take deliberate steps to ensure that all students feel welcomed and supported in the classroom (Florian, 2015; Spratt & Florian, 2015).

Inclusive pedagogy is an overarching framework that, ultimately, encompasses both how one teaches and what one teaches, with the aim of improved academic achievement and outcomes for students. It reflects viewing our students as whole people and teaching in a way that removes barriers through methods like Universal Design for Learning.

Inclusive pedagogy is a student-centered approach to teaching that pays attention to the varied background, learning styles, and abilities of all the learners in front of you. It is a method of teaching in which instructors and students work together to create a supportive and open environment that fosters social justice and allows each individual to be fully present and feel equally valued.

Inclusive pedagogy at its core is learner-centered and equity-focused, creating an overarching learning environment in which students feel equally invited and included. Drawing from a large body of research—much of it foundational scholarship on teaching and learning—it is clear that learning outcomes are improved for everyone when teachers attend to student differences and take deliberate steps to ensure that all students, across differences in academic and social background as well as physical and cognitive abilities, feel welcomed, valued, challenged, and supported in their academic work.

Teaching with a focus on inclusivity requires a proactive stance: designing classroom spaces, practices, and content to include all types of student diversity that exist, seen or unseen. As Viji Sathy and Kelly Hogan note in their article on inclusive pedagogy, it involves "designing and teaching courses in ways that foster talent in all students." It further means mindfully removing barriers for traditionally underserved students by actively fostering a sense of belonging, providing equitable access to course materials, and creating a safe classroom environment. Remote and online learning likewise present challenges, such as equitable course design and access to the learning environment. 

Inclusive Pedagogy is a student-centered approach to teaching that engages the wealth of intersecting social identities and positionalities that all students bring to the classroom. It must not be an afterthought, rather, it should permeate every aspect of curriculum and course design, classroom management, and assessment of teaching and learning (Iturbe-LaGrave, 2018).

Through Inclusive Pedagogy, faculty can reimagine their teaching and dismantle oppressive practices that have hindered the academic success of historically underrepresented students in American Higher Education. It is an approach to teaching that requires us to recognize, assess, and respond to microaggressions; to co-construct knowledge, community agreements, and curricula through which every student's experiences in the world are validated and seen (Iturbe-LaGrave, 2018).

Creating an inclusive classroom environment isn’t just a nice idea—its effect on student engagement, learning, and achievement is supported by substantial academic research. There are a range of ways to define inclusive teaching, but some significant aspects of it include:

  • Purposeful design, teaching, and assessment that is engaging, meaningful, and accessible to all
  • Teaching that incorporates dynamic practices with an awareness of different learning styles
  • Using varied means of assessment to promote student academic success and well-being
  • Teaching that attends to students’ different social identities and backgrounds
  • Design, teaching and assessment that deliberately cultivates an environment in which all students are treated fairly, have equal access to learning, feel welcome, valued, challenged, and supported in succeeding academically

Inclusive Pedagogy Continued

Does your institution state their support of inclusive pedagogy? 


  • If you have experience in an institute of higher education, did you find it to be an inclusive learning environment? 
  • Does your institution need to have a framework or program in place in order for you to incorporate inclusive pedagogies in your classroom or instructional interactions? 
  • How does your personal experience with higher education inform the way you practice?  


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