What will you find in this toolbox?
This toolbox is a collection of guidelines, best practices, instructional strategies, and recommended further reading that for lecturers who want to create an inclusive curriculum and learning environment. It includes specific teaching strategies, tools to discuss diversity and inclusiveness within teaching teams, and a guide with examples to facilitate discussing sensitive topics in class. And much, much more!
The experience of a Psychology student illustrates how stereotypes can be used during lectures: “When we learned about autism in a lecture, a very stereotypical image was given of people with autism. If you have autism, you will not be able to have a romantic relationship, you will not be able to study at university, and so on. Or at least, I felt it like this. But it is not like that for everyone with autism. I understand that people have prejudices, but if you teach, you have to be able to let these prejudices go. I did not dare to raise my hand during the lecture and say: ‘hello, I have autism and am sitting here’ but perhaps I should have done that.”Learn more about: Challenging your own bias Learn more about: Inclusive Language
A student explains: “During lectures, lecturers can make more of an impact with current affairs regarding diversity and inclusion. Create space in lectures to talk about this. Discuss literature from different countries and different perspectives”Learn more about: Diversity in learning materials Learn more about: Including different perspectives
According to Medicine students, research is often based on male patients, ignoring differences between male and female patients. Also, cases in the learning material often present the ‘norm’, while cases different from this norm are mostly stereotyping. A student said regarding this: “A homosexual man cannot just get an STI [sexually transmitted infection] but also a heart attack. You never see that in cases.”Learn more about: Diversity in learning materials
A student shared an experience from her class relating to cultural practices: “I was the only person with African background. There was a slide with different cultural practices, including Zwarte Pete (‘black Pete’). The teacher asked whether anyone knew what ‘black Pete’ entails. A white, Dutch girl started to explain it in a very condescending way. She had the stage to form the narrative and then I was the black girl who had to stand up, which made me feel very unsafe.”
A student details: “As soon as you mention your name (…) you will hear ‘oh where did your name come from?’. Then you explain that you have a Turkish background. Then they immediately make an assumption in their head “Oh you don’t look Turkish”. They look at me differently than when I walked in [and didn’t know I have a Turkish background]. As if all Turkish people are the same, look, have faith. They always assume that I am a Muslim (…) you are then just a kind of stereotype, which is a pity, painful too.”Learn more about: Challenging your own bias
A teacher presents a student with a religious background as representative of the group: “Oh, you’re Muslim! Can you tell us about what the Palestinians think about Jewish settlements in the West Bank?”
This can also happen for other diversity aspects, such as related to ethnic minority background. For example: “You’re Asian! Can you tell us what the Japanese think about our trade policies?”Learn more about: Challenging your own bias
A student shares “When there is an assignment and the teacher says ‘Make a group’ I think, how am I going to do that? Other people were often together before the group was formed. What about me?”Learn more about: Creating a Safe and Positive Classroom Climate Learn more about: Enhancing social cohesion Learn more about: Supporting collaborative learning
A student shares: “Perhaps teachers could have fewer assumptions. When you are Dutch you assume everyone is on the same page with you, maybe because students don’t seem diverse, they assume everyone is the same. The less diversity they see on the outside, the less they take differences into account”Learn more about: Challenging your own bias
A teacher uses phrases in lectures such as “as you all should have noticed”, or “obviously this is…” With this, they are implicitly marginalising the listeners that do not understand or agree with your point. For example, a religious student experienced this when a lecturer was talking about the evolution theory and said “only the Bible says something else but obviously none of you believe in that stuff”.Learn more about: Inclusive Language
A student with multiple physical disabilities shared how teaching and learning activities can be exclusive: “Mostly, introduction activities or ice breakers are organised as being a physical activity. This makes it is impossible for me to participate, even in the very first activity of the course.”Learn more about: Designing accessible teaching and learning activities
Referring to use of stereotypes in assessment a student explains: “Or if there is a question about someone with a Hindu background, you know the answer is ‘diabetes’”.Learn more about: Selecting Diverse and Non-Triggering Cases
The experience of a Medicine student illustrates how materials and learning objectives do not always cover the diversity that students are likely to encounter in the field:
In a practicum, students were asked to detect the pupillary light reflex by shining a light in each other’s eyes. However, the colour of this student’s eyes is so dark that it is hard to discern between the iris and pupil of her eye, making it impossible to test the pupillary light reflex. The assistant supervising the practicum also had no idea how to detect this. This made the student wonder why, as she and the other students are expected to work as doctor within a diverse society where it is quite likely to encounter patients with very dark eyes too. Also, it made her feel uncomfortable.Learn more about: Diversity in learning materials Learn more about: Designing accessible teaching and learning activities