Glossary of terms for inclusive teaching
The materials in this document are taken from the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project course on the edX platform.
Agency - The ability to act independently and make free choices; the ability to make conscious decisions for oneself (see here).
Diversity - Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).
Dominant Narrative - An explanation or story that is told in service of the dominant social group’s interests and ideologies (see here)
Classroom Climate - The social-ecological setting of the classroom constructed from individual and collective students’ perceptions of their academic experience including perceptions of the rigor of the class, their interactions with their instructor and class peers, and their involvement in the class. Classroom climate is “the social-ecological setting in which students’ function [and] can affect their attitudes and moods, their behavior and performance, their self-concept and a general sense of well-being. (see here).
Critical Reflection - A reasoning process to make meaning of an experience. This process adds depth and breadth to an experience and builds connections between course content and the experience (see here).
Equity - The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society (see here).
Inclusion - The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curricular, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
Inclusive Teaching - An approach in which instructors reflect critically on all aspects of their courses, rethinking their curricular choices, their teaching methods, activities, and assessments as well as the intersections of their own identities and those of their students. Additionally, inclusive teaching approaches can guide instructors to reflect on how power, privilege, and positionality play out in different learning environments (see here).
Privilege - a group of unearned cultural, legal, social, and institutional rights extended to a group based on their social group membership.
Positionality - one’s social location or position assigned and negotiated as a result of combining various social factors or identifiers; including but not limited to: race, sex, class, gender, ability, age, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, physical stature, education, religion, occupation, relational status, language.
Identity - the social categories that represent how a person or a group understands themselves to be, and how the world may perceive them. These complex interactions describe the qualities, beliefs, looks, and/or expressions that make a person or a group. The term social identity is one of the ways of naming the complex interactions between how we understand ourselves and how others see us with respect to major social categories. These identities are socially constructed and can be readily apparent to others or not, shared with others or kept private, self-claimed and, or ascribed by others. We focus on visible and invisible social identities, and less so on relational or professional identities.
Oppression - Describes policies, practices, norms, and traditions that systematically exploit one social group (the target group) by another (the dominant group) for the dominant group’s benefit. (see here).
Power - a diffuse, dynamic, and relational concept that can facilitate or restrict the ability of an individual to influence or act within a classroom or research context.
Social Belonging - A sense of having positive relationships with others (see here)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - a research-based set of principles that guide the design of learning environments such that they are accessible and effective to the widest range of individuals possible
Content provided by the Inclusive Stem Teaching Project.