Students should have equal opportunities for success, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, linguistic or socioeconomic background, and more. We all walk into the classroom with expectations and norms that have been established and cultivated by the communities and cultures from which we come; and some identities, cultures, and backgrounds (of both students and teachers) have more power and privilege than others in traditional college classrooms. Addressing potential challenges in the classroom related to power and privilege is a hugely complex and fraught issue, and many questions emerge: how do these issues affect learning? the classroom environment? your position as a teacher?
Inclusive Teaching Strategies
Universities have many terms for speaking about their values and the nature of the communities they hope to foster. In recent years, we have moved beyond "diversity" (which, critics noted, implicitly assumed a largely white, male default) to "inclusion;" and again from "inclusion" alone (which might imply a mere formal commitment to access) to "belonging," which emphasizes our obligation as a community to make all people feel that they have a home at Harvard. What are some concrete moves that we can make to ensure that students feel like they belong in our classrooms? We have developed a list of inclusive teaching strategies based on the literature and our own experience in the classroom. Ultimately, inclusive teaching is good teaching.
Hot Moments in the Classroom
No matter how hard we try to guarantee that our classrooms are places in which all students feel welcome and appreciated, there is always a possibility that a discussion—particularly if it treats a sensitive or controversial topic, or touches in some way upon the identity of the students in the room—could give rise to a "hot moment," in which a student (or group of students) says or does something that threatens to rupture the social fabric you have worked to create. How can you best think about your duty to respond?
Implicit Bias and Stereotype Threat
Power and Privilege
As a teacher of Harvard undergraduates, you are expected to act professionally in your dealings with your students and within your courses' teaching staffs. You must be fair, equally available to all of your students, friendly but not your students' friend, well-prepared for class, and prompt. You must also take seriously your obligations to protect your students’ private information and to act ethically with regard to any sensitive information you may obtain about your students and/or fellow teachers. Harvard provides instructors with a number of guidelines, and support structures, to ensure that you are meeting your obligations with regard to professional conduct, Title IX, and student privacy.