Inclusive teaching: 10 tips for teachers
Resource from the Institute of Physics (IOP) is part of the STEM Girls training promoted by the British Council and the STEM Education Hub. The tips are shaped by research and help schools to address gender imbalance and promote equality.
In the third week of the STEM Girls: Educating Future Scientists, Dr Jessica Hamer (King’s College London) and Dr. Jenny Search (Center for Life) led a session to discuss inclusive teaching practices with a focus on gender and STEM. Among the activities, they presented a teaching resource to help schools to address gender imbalance and promoting equality.
The material was produced by the Institute of Physics and is shaped by research into gender and behaviour patterns. The poster can be printed and displayed in school zones.
“We recognise that there are variants and these behaviours are not the experience of all individuals. Inclusive teaching is therefore intended to support all students” – IOP
Download the poster here (in English)
10 tips for inclusive teaching
1) Use everyday language
Technical jargon can be intimidating for many learners. Avoid it and make sure that you only introduce technical language or equations once the context is understood.
2) Avoid asking for volunteers
Boys may be more likely to raise their hands, call out answers and volunteer to take part in activities. Other techniques, such as individual whiteboards or selecting students at random, can broaden the range of students participating.
3) Assign roles for practical work
Boys often dominate the equipment while girls hang back and write down the results. To avoid this, you can assign roles or use single-sex groups for practicals
4) Use examples that show how science links to their experience
This is useful for all students, but research shows that girls in particular tend to appreciate context and seeing the bigger picture.
5) Use gender-neutral contexts whenever possible
Try to avoid using examples that focus on stereotypically male or female hobbies or interests
6) Allow time for pair or group discussions
Give time for students to discuss answers to challenging questions before asking them to share ideas with the class.
7) Challenge discriminatory language
Science is for everyone. Always treat sexist language as unacceptable, and tackle the
attitudes behind it.
8) Monitor your interaction with different genders
You might be surprised at the ratio of different genders asking or answering questions in your class. Keep a note yourself or ask a colleague or student to observe one of your lessons and keep count.
9) Regularly refer to a range of careers that use science-based skills
Girls are more likely to consider their future career when choosing their options. Emphasise the transferable skills that studying science helps to develop.
10) Ensure that your students are exposed to a diverse range of scientists
Be wary of giving your students the impression that science is only for high achievers. Emphasise that science is for everyone, irrespective of their background.