Building Equitable, Inclusive Classrooms

October 29, 2020
Building Equitable, Inclusive Classrooms

“Students shouldn’t have to feel that they need to leave places behind in order to be successful moving forward.” With those words, Clint Smith, a Harvard Ph.D. and staff writer at The Atlantic, captured the essence of the ninth annual Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) Conference on Oct. 16. 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and oppression of Black communities and people of color has emphasized the critical need for effective pedagogy in diverse classrooms, around difficult subjects. The HILT Conference brought together speakers and panelists to share their successes and challenges in building equitable learning opportunities, especially in the unique context of remote teaching during COVID-19. Panels explored adaptive pedagogies to support students through the evolving circumstances of the current moment, as well as perspectives of students themselves on what works—and doesn’t—in the classroom. 

Among the related resources accompanying the conference was the Incubator’s new teaching pack on equitable and inclusive higher education. The curated collection of resources focuses on evidence-based tools and strategies—from syllabus redesign to transparency principles—that support students of all backgrounds, but particularly students whose identities are often marginalized in classroom spaces. 

Nina Bhattacharya, GHELI’s Instructional Designer, introduces the pack, also highlighting an educator guide that illustrates how equity-minded practices can be integrated into public health or global health classrooms:

The approaches within the teaching pack may be useful to educators as they develop lesson plans, craft activities, or design courses for classroom, hybrid, or online learning environments. Each resource description briefly describes the approach that educators can translate to their classrooms, and highlights supplementary material for further exploration. All the resources are free, and new resources will be added as they become available.