Being a teacher, especially in our current climate, is one of the hardest professions a person can pursue. Competent, patient, empathetic educators aren’t just beneficial to a successful society—they’re crucial. Now more than ever, instructors must prioritize inclusivity to serve their students better.
Inclusivity is achievable through collaboration, open communication, and a willingness to learn. When we celebrate students for who they are, we help develop open-minded children who are excited to go to class every day. Improve your current practices by using these tips to create an inclusive environment at school.
Focus on Accessibility
It’s vital to meet students where they’re at when it comes to accessibility. Kids come from all walks of life, and each child has different needs. They shouldn’t have to go without due to a disability or a lack of income or support.
For example, schools should have feminine hygiene dispensersin bathrooms so menstruating students always have the supplies they need. Additionally, structure your classroom in a way that gives kids with visual, hearing, and attention impairments front-row seats for learning.
Make sure information is accessible in various formats to accommodate different needs. Software that converts speech to text and vice versa helps students with processing difficulties digest information more easily.
Teach Inclusive Language
If you want to create an inclusive environment at school, you need to use your words wisely. It’s easy to use exclusionary language without thinking about it. For instance, referring to “parents” instead of “caregivers” excludes kids without a traditional family structure.
As students navigate their identities, it’s important to avoid gendered terms. Instead of saying “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls,” stick to terms like “friends” and “students.” Model this language across all forms of communication, including written and verbal.
Listen and Learn From Your Students
Teaching is about learning just as much as it is instructing. Many times, students will tell you how to treat them if you’re open to listening. For example, some kids prefer identity-first language, while others prefer person-first terms; catering your speech to the individual will make them feel heard and cared for.
Your classroom should be a safe space for students to express their concerns. Approach problems without judgment and always respect their privacy. Kids who feel respected by their teachers are more cooperative, eager to learn, and less likely to act out.
Incorporating inclusivity into the classroom usually takes some time. However, dedicating yourself to the process will benefit your teaching style as much as it does your students.