Daily Danai

Art & Design Education

How to create an Inclusive Classroom

Last year I encountered challenges in creating a safe environment for students. When people feel unsafe in a conversation there are two paths: silence or violence. Silence can be used as a means to avoid potential situations by withdrawing (by any means) from the conversation. Violence is when verbal strategies are used in an attempt to force our meaning upon the other. This can be done by dominating the other by; cutting people off, speaking in absolutes, overstating facts, labeling, or getting personal. When this happens it’s challenging to keep an overview of what is happening class because we have to dual-process our own behavior.

I wrote the following notes to prepare better for next time:

  • explore individual expectations prior to the course
  • clarify expectations at the beginning
  • set up group rules about expectations when the whole group is present
  • when there are rules; include consequences when rules are broken
  • construct multiple means to allow for a voice to be heard¬† (for example anonymously written)
  • notify the limitations of time, and how this influences discussions
  • provide an opportunity for collaborations and participants to voice themselves
  • prevent a singular presence of power in the room
  • prevent tutor/participant conversation; allow for multiple parties to join

Anxieties in a course can lead to less motivation for participants to continue/finish. The following theories are related to motivation in the context of education:

  1. intrinsic and extrinsic motivation theory
  2. self-determination theory (SDT)
  3. the ARCS model
  4. social cognitive theory
  5. expectancy theory





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