Diversity and Inclusion Statement

 

One of the main ideas that I want to build upon the inclusive teaching plan is the bias that I, as an instructor, may have when walking into the classroom. Instructors usually come with a preconceive idea about how the classroom will be going. In some sense, when we see our students’ roster, we begin to make pre-conceptions of what the students in our class will be like. When we do this, we subconsciously begin to create biases that may hurt the experience of our students as they take our course. Hence, creating preconceptions on our students, is creating judgments on people who we have not been given the opportunity to show who they are. This is why it is important, as an instructor, that I have an open mind when I begin teaching; hence, being able to teach a course without preconceptions and ideas of how my students will be in the classroom. By doing this, the inclusivity of the classroom can have a meaningful impact in the collaboration and direction that I set for the course.

 

Another important point that I take into account in my teaching is implicit and explicit diversities that encompass a person. I like to  focus on these areas because I believe, as an educator, to acknowledge the fact that diversity comes in many shapes and colors. We often look for the common disabilities (i.e., blindness, wheelchair, etc.) that gives us explicit diverseness in a person. We automatically fail because as said above, we create a bias in the classroom and in our instruction. I need to be conscious of the implicit factors that may be part of my students in order to create an inclusive environment. I also need to acknowledge factors such as veterans, first-generation graduates, gender, etc., not just color and/or disability. By acknowledging the true diversity in everyone, I can create an inclusive classroom without having to look for explicit factors for such inclusiveness to happen.

 

One of the components I apply is a diversity plan in terms of “Lesson plan” for when I am preparing for my course. In order to be successful in the inclusivity of my classroom, I have to start from the beginning. This goes before I even plan the course but to the creation of the syllabus. I must seek institutional sources that I am able to put in my syllabus in order to have a more inclusive syllabus (i.e., pronouns of choice). This is an important step that most, if not all, instructors fail at doing as when we think of inclusive classroom, we fail to include inclusivity in the syllabus itself. The syllabus, is the first representation of how my classroom will be taught through the semester. It is also the first item students will evaluate to see how the course may be. By creating an inclusive syllabus,  students may experience inclusivity and feel belonged with the material that will be taught in my course.

 

Aside from adding inclusiveness in my syllabus, another way I include diversity in the classroom is by adding articles that represent the population I instruct.  As a language instructor, I also focus on the material applied in my classroom. Given that I work with Open Educational Resources (OER), I have the opportunity to modify my material as needed as possible within the given the population I teach. An example of the modifications that I do in my classroom is within the topic of family. One of the modifications is teaching the content of family with a GLBTQI+ family. I also add examples of immediate families with only one parent. By doing this, the students feel more belonged in the classroom and/or with the material as they connect with a diverse core family because: 1) they have grown up with the same core family or 2) they represent a diverse group of the examples above (e.g., student being LGBTQI+).

 

Overall, in my growth to a diverse and inclusive classroom,  One of the main topics that I would like to address is the topic of Self. I would like to explore more my own Self that makes me diverse and contributes to the inclusivity of others. It is important for me to not lose myself as I strive to create an inclusive classroom. In order to really have an inclusive classroom, I need to show who I am to my students so that they can relate to the components that make me a unique instructor. At the end of the day, I know students want to know me, see me, and have my own diversity acknowledge. Because at the end of the day, we should not lose ourselves over the inclusivity of others…

Background By: "Cactus in Black and White" by Jojo Nicdao is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Contact

ribota@tamu.edu

Department of Hispanic Studies 
Texas A&M University 
College Station, Texas 77843-4238 USA

Tel.: (979) 845-2125 (Office)

© 2017-2019 Alessandra Ribota. All rights reserved.