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Creating an Environment in Which All Students Feel They Can Participate Fully

From Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula: A Practical Guide, Third Edition by Robert M. Diamond

  1. Recognize that individual students probably have learning styles different from your own style and that of at least some other students in the course.
  2. Avoid the interpretation of differences from the traditional norm as deficits.
  3. Be aware of whom is called upon to answer questions or do other things in the course, and whether there is a pattern of bias in your behavior.
  4. Ask an observer to record participation levels in one or more of your classes to get a sense of the patterns and to avoid pitfalls of unequal or biased behaviors for participation.
  5. Encourage students to speak with you about their needs.
  6. Insert comments in the course syllabus about alternative formats or options that students have with regard to learning in the course and how assessment of performance will occur.
  7. Attend to student needs for course relevance to their life experiences.
  8. Be flexible when the personal responsibilities of students (such as child-care or workplace issues) call for different learning arrangements.
  9. Use varied instructional approaches (lecture, discussion, small-group work, experiential activities, and so on) as well as varied modalities (for example, redundancy in print and visual resources) that allow students to use their preferred learning style while being appropriately challenged to expand their learning repertoires.
  10. Use a range of means for evaluating student work, including both qualitative and quantitative assessments that span objective items (such as multiple-choice tests), essay items, performance items, and other ways to assess performance.


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