In Living and Teaching Inclusively, we often discuss ways to be proactive in ways to engage and support all types of learners rather than being reactive to a situation or concern after it arises. As instructors, many of us can reflect on situations where we responded to a concern had by a learner and figured out ways to help them overcome a barrier. While this is great (and expected), we emphasize the importance of being proactive in creating learning environments that preempt (or at least reduce) issues before they occur.
This often takes the form of clearly stated policies in our syllabi and “getting-to-know-you” activities. These are proven ways to increase success by setting expectations early on in a course and better engaging learners by knowing them better and being more aware of how to help them individually. They will never eliminate all potential issues, but they are a great first step in reducing the likelihood of occurrence. Continue reading