Inclusive lecturing involves creating and presenting lectures that are accessible to students with and without disabilities, as well as helping students connect your ideas to their knowledge structures. An inclusive lecture can be created by varying the content, including a diverse group of scholars, giving time for students to interact with one other and new ideas, and sharing material in intentional ways.
Consider your language
Avoid using phrases such as “It’s easy to see…” or “I’m sure you know…” or "It's a no-brainer." These phrases can discourage students who may have questions about the material from asking questions.
Attend to diversity among scholars and content
Not only can including a group of diverse scholars increase belonging among students who typically do not see themselves in scholarship, the incorporation of diverse voices can challenge what students believe regarding who creates knowledge and how. It may also begin to shift the central tenets of traditional disciplines. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there ways in which I can include a wider range of scholars such as women, people of color, and first-generation scholars who address concepts in my discipline? Can I indicate the diversity of scholars by sharing photos of them on my presentation slides?
- Can I incorporate any narratives and theories developed by and about people who are typically underrepresented in my area?
Break up lectures and engage students in an activity in order to digest and connect ideas
Delivering lectures in smaller chunks can help students make connections to new ideas, give them time to formulate questions, and help them identify sticking points. When students share notes with classmates, they also have an opportunity to engage with each other and learn from each other's unique perspectives. Consider these techniques:
- Pause: Approximately every 15 minutes, pause and give students time to work in pairs to discuss and rework their notes, compare ideas, fill in missing information, and discuss the content with their partners. At the end of each lecture, give students a few minutes to write down the key points they remember, or ask them to write down three key points and the answer to a question and give their paper to you.
- Think, pair, share: After posing a sufficiently difficult question, have students think about the question silently for a minute. Then have them pair up and discuss the question with a partner, and then ask the pairs to share their responses with the whole class.
- Practice homework problems: After lecturing on a particular type of problem, give students a problem to work on individually in class that resembles the problems they’ll see on their homework. After giving students a few minutes to work through the problem, have them compare their strategies and/or answers with a classmate and then with the class.
The concept of a lecture may be new to some students. Guide students’ listening by making your structure clear. Some things to try include:
- Make the structure of the lecture obvious to students with an outline or objectives on an opening slide.
- Recap from time to time.
- Mark transitions.
- Give each slide a unique title.
- Don’t speak too quickly, allowing students for whom English is a second language time to process new vocabulary.
- If a student asks a question in a lecture, repeat it so that everyone else can hear it before giving your reply.
- Try not to use unexplained idioms or slang phrases that may confuse students who do not share your frames of reference.
- Ensure that students who need to be close to the lecturer (for example, for lip-reading) are seated appropriately. Do not move around the room if students may need to read your lips as you speak.
Use Universal Design for Learning principles to create accessible slides
Consider using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to construct lectures that reach students with various learning needs. The UDL framework advocates for multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement that serve to engage students with varying vision, hearing, and conceptual abilities.
For more information, see Addressing the Challenges of Lecturing from Indiana University.
- Cochran-Smith, 2003