Advanced Strategies

Facilitate Inclusive Discussions

An inclusive discussion is one in which all students can contribute their knowledge, ideas, and questions. Differences in backgrounds can enrich discussions when they are intentionally included in the discussion structure.

Unfortunately, students do not always participate equally. Studies show that unequal participation rates can be the result of student traits (such as confidence, comprehension, interest, preparation, or motivation) and classroom factors (size, climate, interaction norms).[1] 

Educators can adjust the classroom environment to help increase student confidence and mitigate uneven student preparation. For example, students may perform poorly because they fear being negatively stereotyped. Negative stereotypes exist relative to academic performance among women in STEM, African Americans, and non-English speakers. Promoting a welcoming climate, creating opportunities for interaction, and considering your content can begin to address these concerns.

  1. Aitken and Neer (1993)