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Office of Teaching Evaluation and Assessment Research

Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning

The key goal in education is supporting the learning of all students, which comes with challenges and opportunities. Creating a inclusive learning environment where Rutgers diverse student population can flourish is paramount. Efforts to create this environment of inclusion transcend discipline and school. Current research has shown that inclusive teaching supports all students' success.

Multicultural Education & Culturally Responsive Teaching

Multicultural education is everything within a school that guarantees the goal of ensuring educational equality of students from diverse backgrounds (Banks, 2015). Gay (2002) defines culturally responsive teaching as instruction that incorporates experiences and culture from different ethnic groups of your students to teach more effectively. Bank's first principle as the role of professional development programs in ensuring teachers understand various cultural and ethnic groups. It is critical as an instructor to ensure that you are taking steps within your classroom to reduce prejudice and the first way in which to do this is to ensure that you are aware of your own beliefs you bring into your classroom.

Some suggestions for instructors include:

Implicit Bias

All humans have certain biases. Every person also carries implicit biases - these are the beliefs, attitudes, or stereotypes that impact your thoughts and behavior in an unconscious manner. Moss-Racusin, Dovidio, Brescoll, Graham, and Handelsman (2012) found that both male and female science faculty from research-intensive institutions had moderate pre existing biases against women and theorized this could be a reason more women are not moving into STEM fields. As an instructor, the first step is to recognize those that you may hold. There are now multiple tools that you can utilize to determine your implicit biases.

Stereotype Threat

There are many pervasive stereotypes in cultures. Stereotype threat is a person’s fear of proving a negative stereotype correct about a group they are associated with and research has this to negatively impact student performance (Marx, Monroe, Cole, & Gilbert, 2013; Steele & Aronson, 1995). Interventions that support theories of intelligence and growth mindsets have been found to mitigate the effect of stereotype threat on student persistence and performance (Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002; Good, Aronson, & Inzlicht, 2003).

You may have heard about growth and fixed mindsets through the dissemination of Carol Dweck’s in mainstream publications. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that individuals are born with a certain amount of intelligence and you can’t do much to change it while someone with a growth mindset believes that they are capable of learning and intelligence in malleable (Dweck, 1999). Everyone holds beliefs that are fixed and some that are growth. No one is completely one or the other and it can also depend on what you are topic or subject or skill you are involved in at that time. You can have greater growth mindset tendencies in mathematics but more fixed mindset tendencies in english. To move closer to a growth mindset we should be aware of fixed mindset beliefs and tendencies.

There are some ways that you can support and promote growth mindsets in your classroom (Boaler, 2013; Dweck, 2015):

Rutgers Resources

Rutgers has a variety of initiatives to create and support a inclusive environment across the institution.

Resources from Other Institutions & References


Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(2), 113-125. doi:10.1006/jesp.2001.1491

Banks, J. A. (2015). The dimensions of multicultural education. In Cultural diversity and education: Foundations, curriculum, and teaching (6th ed., pp. 3-22). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Boaler, J. (2013). Ability and mathematics: The mindset revolution that is reshaping education. FORUM: For Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education, 55(1), 143-152.

Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. New York, NY, US: Psychology Press.

Dweck, C. S. (2015). Growth. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), 242-245. doi:10.1111/bjep.12072

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 106-116.doi:10.1177/0022487102053002003

Good, C., Aronson, J., & Inzlicht, M. (2003). Improving adolescents' standardized test performance: An intervention to reduce the effects of stereotype threat. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,24(6), 645-662. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2003.09.002

Marx, D. M., Monroe, A. H., Cole, C. E., & Gilbert, P. N. (2013). No doubt about it: When doubtful role models undermine men's and women's math performance under threat. The Journal of Social Psychology, 153(5), 542-559.

Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 109(41), 16474-16479.

Nieto, S. (2008). Affirmation, solidarity and critique: Moving beyond tolerance in education. In E. Lee, D. Menkart, & M. Okazawa-Rey (Eds.), Beyond heroes and holidays (pp. 18-29). Washington, DC: Teaching for Change.

Steele, C.M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African-Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 797-811.


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