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Thursday, June 19 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
CON6.09 – Transforming Teaching and Learning Environments to Increase Inclusion (Room A240)

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In light of the increasing diversity of college and university students, the importance of creating inclusive and equitable educational experiences has been recognized frequently in recent years (e.g., Jabbar & Hardaker, 2013; May & Bridger, 2010; Redpath et al., 2013). All individuals have complex, intersecting identities, and teaching and learning environments that respect and value these identities have been shown to enhance students’ learning and success (Burgstahler & Cory, 2009; Longstreet, 2011; Smith, 2012). However, in spite of a growing body of literature on the subject (e.g., Guo & Jamal, 2007; Gurung & Prieto, 2009; Ouellett, 2005), many instructors remain uncertain about how to teach inclusively (Caruana 2010; Cook, Rumrill & Tankersley, 2009; Grace & Gravestock, 2009). Both increased professional development focused on inclusion and ongoing research about students’ lived experiences are, thus, required.

In response to these imperatives, the authors are currently undertaking a study designed to collect qualitative data about students’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion in their educational programs at one Canadian university. Students from across the university, including women, LGBTT2SIQQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Two Spirit, Intersex, Questioning, Queer, Asexual)-identified students, students of diverse faith backgrounds, racialized students, First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, students with visible and invisible disabilities, international students, students from a range of socio-economic backgrounds and students of a diverse age range, were invited to participate in an interview or a focus group during Fall, 2013 or Winter, 2014. Participants were asked to share their perceptions and experiences of inclusion and exclusion in their courses and programs, and to offer any ideas they might have for enhancing the inclusivity of teaching and learning on campus. Data analysis is ongoing, and will be used to inform the development of teaching resources and professional development activities for instructors.

Drawing from and building upon this work, this session aims to provide participants with an opportunity to consider the relative inclusivity of teaching and learning within their own classrooms and institutions. By presenting preliminary data from our ongoing research and engaging attendees in structured discussion, we will explore common barriers to and facilitators of inclusive education, and encourage participants to brainstorm ways of translating these findings into effective pedagogical strategies and professional development programs. By such means, session attendees will engage actively with issues related to the conference theme of transforming classrooms into learning experiences that embrace diverse student needs. Participants will come away with ideas for enhancing the inclusiveness of their teaching practices and/or advocating for equitable teaching and learning on their campuses.

Thursday June 19, 2014 2:00pm - 2:50pm EDT
A240 McArthur Hall

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