Social Sciences Lecture Course

The first days of a course are key times for instructors to set a tone of inclusion. This instructor teaches an introductory course on cultural anthropology in a lecture hall and carries out a variety of strategies to make the course more equitable and inclusive. Click the photos to view the vignettes.

Demo of a college professor speaking in a lecture hall

Vignette #1

Inclusive teaching practices: relationship building, setting or reinforcing community guidelines, using growth mindset language, allowing for student choice

To foster an inclusive learning environment, the instructor provides students with name tent cards and emphasizes the importance of everyone learning each other’s names, a community standard. Students also share their pronouns on the cards. She shares her journey within the discipline, humanizing her field. She builds community by having students have informal conversations with a peer. She intentionally makes herself available as a resource to her learners and provides additional resources online to support their success in the course. She also provides flexibility in the syllabus that allows for student choice in topics that can be discussed during the course. Note that the video focuses on one small group of students in a larger course.

Demo of college students in a lecture hall

Vignette #2

Inclusive teaching practices: conducting prior assessment of knowledge, using words of affirmation, setting community guidelines, encouraging equitable participation

The instructor recognizes that her students enter the course at different starting points in their knowledge of the class about particular course material. To better understand where her learners are, the instructor administers a poll, so that she can learn what they already know and build off of their current knowledge. Polling also sets the tone for equitable participation where the contributions of all students are valued. Not shown here, the instructor also verified that all students had access to the appropriate digital equipment in the course survey. She addresses the community guidelines about students keeping an open mind when learning about various cultural groups.

Demo of a college professor speaking in a lecture hall

Vignette #3

Inclusive teaching practices: encouraging equitable participation, integrating active learning, using diverse media, preventing questions based on group identity, giving real-world examples

Active learning activities can benefit all learners. The instructor gives real-world examples and integrates course content while avoiding forced spokesmanship.