Inclusive Teaching

What is inclusive teaching?

Inclusive teaching involves using teaching methods and strategies that are designed to accommodate and support the needs of all students, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities. The goal of inclusive teaching is to help all students succeed and feel valued and supported in their academic pursuits (Ambrose et. al, 2010).

Inclusive teaching approaches vary widely, and can include concrete strategies such as:  

  • Using clear and concise language accessible for diverse and multilingual learners
  • Providing multiple ways for students to access course material  
  • Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students (Sathy and Hogan, 2022) 
  • Actively working to make learning culturally relevant for all learners (Gay, 2018)
  • Addressing issues of bias and discrimination and promoting diversity and inclusion in the classroom (Addy et. al. 2021)
  • Modelling cultural humility and openness to diverse ways of knowing
  • Helping students communicate and engage in dialogue with each other across difference
  • Incorporating learning materials and activities in their courses that engage students with diverse perspectives (Dimitrov and Haque 2016)

Why does inclusive teaching matter?

Inclusive teaching promotes equity and helps to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in their studies. By providing accommodations and support for students with different backgrounds and abilities, inclusive teaching helps to level the playing field and gives all students the chance to learn and thrive. 

Inclusive teaching has been shown to improve and contribute to long term student success and retention. When students feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn, leading to better academic outcomes for everyone, not just for students who may need additional support (Sathy and Hogan 2022). A study by Dewsbury (2019) has shown that active and inclusive teaching strategies used in a first year Biology course contributed to greater student success and reduced attrition rates into the second, third and fourth year. 

Inclusive teaching helps to prepare students for success in a diverse and rapidly changing world. By promoting diversity and inclusion in the classroom, inclusive teaching helps students develop the skills and perspectives they need to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. This can be particularly important on a diverse university campus like SFU. 

Inclusive Teaching Resources

Featured Inclusive Teaching Programs

Featured Resources

Podcast Interviews with Inclusive Teaching Scholars

Podcast Interview with Viji Sathi and Kelly Hogan, University of North Carolina (45 minutes)

Podcast Interview with Bryan Dewsbury, Florida International University (54 minutes)


  • Addy, T. M., Dube, D., Mitchell, K. A., & SoRelle, M. E. (2021). What inclusive instructors do: Principles and practices for excellence in college teaching. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
  • Ambrose, S., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., & Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (See Chapter 6: “Why do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning?”)
  • Dimitrov, N. & Haque, A. (2016). Intercultural Teaching Competence: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Instructor Reflection. Intercultural Education: Learning at Intercultural Intersections. 27(5). 437-456. DOI:10.1080/14675986.2016.1240502
  • Gay, G. (2018). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and Practice.3rd ed. Teachers College Press: Multicultural Education Series.  
  • Dewsbury, B.M. (2019). Deep Teaching - in a college STEM classroom. Cultural Studies in Science Education,
  • Dewsbury, B. M., Swanson, H. J., Moseman-Valtierra, S., & Caulkins, J. (2022). Inclusive and active pedagogies reduce academic outcome gaps and improve long-term performance. Plos one, 17(6), e0268620.
  • Sathy, V., & Hogan, K. A. (2022). Inclusive teaching: Strategies for promoting equity in the college classroom. West Virginia University Press.  


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