Culturally Inclusive Teaching and Learning That Engages the Whole Student

Cynthia Gadsden





College and university students are a diverse group of learners with unique and nuanced learning needs. Reliance on long-standing traditional methods of teaching and learning are often ill-suited for students who are part of a cultural group or community that has a communal or cultural focus, (i.e., African American, people of color, etc). Such groups often encourage a different learning perspective that relies heavily on personal and significant relationships, and being a full participant of the group. These students arrive at school with a wealth of wide-ranging experiences, perspectives, and concerns.

Often, a lack of understanding of the influential nature of these relationships led instructors to treat them with unintentional disapproval and disrespect. This attitude can have an adverse effect on student success in the classroom and with the college experience in general. Consequently, faculty who recognize the power of these significant relationships can incorporate culturally inclusive projects and assignments that can help address the learning needs of all of their students. While HBCU’s traditionally fused African American culture and academics, culturally inclusive course assignments can help bridge the divide between students’ home and academic lives, and create a warmer, more inviting learning environment on every campus.

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