Inclusive Teaching Practices Course
The following blog post was written by Nadia Khan, a faculty member at the School of Global Access.
The Inclusive Teaching Practices course, one of the five courses offered through the Post-TESL Certificate, provides strategies and guidelines to create inclusive learning and teaching environments to better suit the needs of English language learners. This course provides a mix of theory and application, which includes approaches underpinning inclusive education and optimal strategies that support inclusion and address the needs of learners with a variety of backgrounds and learning abilities. The course provides opportunities for ELL practitioners to examine their current teaching practices, reflect on their intercultural awareness, and use concepts and strategies from the course to create inclusive learning and teaching environments. The course explores how inclusive teaching in an adult ELL classroom takes into account the learners’ identity, background, knowledge, and skills where the curriculum is built on these to provide meaningful experiences in the learning environment.
“The course content is helpful as I reflect on my teaching practices. It gives me concrete ideas on what strategies to build on. These strategies are really practical and doable. I am glad we were given a detailed checklist to guide us in implementing inclusive teaching practices.” Course participant
The four-week course was piloted in January 2019. This twelve-hour course included a webinar, course readings, slidecasts, podcasts, and examples of effective use of inclusive practices in an English language learning and teaching environment. Checklists and strategies that support inclusion were part of the course content throughout. The course included a section on considering learners’ diverse backgrounds and abilities, such as gender and sexual diversity, cultural backgrounds, (dis)ability, learning abilities, and styles. Course participants were able to use interactive checklists of optimal strategies for supporting each group to examine their teaching practices. This gave them a chance to consider the various strategies to support diverse learners and be mindful of the intersecting identities of the learners in the classroom. In addition, they were able to reflect on strategies and practices that they already use in order to support inclusion and build on these.
“There are so many unconscious biases and assumptions that this course helped me reflect on and change.” -Course participant
The course also focused on the importance of intercultural awareness in an inclusive learning and teaching environment. Key concepts related to diversity, inclusion, and intercultural sensitivity were explored through the course. Self- assessment activities provided opportunity for course participants to reflect on their own intercultural awareness. Interactive activities such as the communal white board and the discussion board provided opportunities for participants to engage and interact with each other. This gave participants a chance to present their ideas and learn from their peers. Furthermore, scenarios based on critical moments, learner reflections, and instructor tips provided useful insights to course participants. Through these, participants were able to see the practical application of inclusive concepts and develop a conscious understanding of diversity and inclusion while engaging in collaborative and reflective practices. Course participants actively participated in all the activities and discussions, embraced the innovative concepts, and shared ways they would use these strategies and ideas in their practice.
Through the Inclusive Teaching Practices course, participants were able to engage in reflection, foster a deeper understanding of notions such as diversity and equity, and develop an inclusive mindset to provide a positive learning experience and create an inclusive environment for all learners. English language learning and teaching environments are very diverse. Through this course, participants were able to understand the importance of taking into account the diversity in the ELL classroom while planning, teaching, and assessing lessons, so that all learners are part of the learning experience.
The Post- TESL Certificate offered through the School of Global Access provides opportunities to deepen subject matter knowledge, enhance instructional skills, and build a professional community of ELL practitioners.