As faculty, it is important to address the needs of students with a variety of abilities, backgrounds and learning preferences. In an effective classroom environment, all students feel valued, regardless of their ethnicity, age, ability, identity, learning preference or family background.
The student population at UTSA is unique among American universities. Almost half of our students are first-generation, meaning they are the first in their immediate families to attend college. A significant percentage are military-affiliated and many are nontraditional students with jobs, children and other responsibilities. These characteristics provide unique challenges for faculty in ensuring student success. Because we as faculty are also diverse, we may inadvertently use teaching strategies or language that make some students feel excluded. By simply recognizing our own biases and adjusting our teaching accordingly, we can create a climate where all students feel welcome and can succeed.
Frequent Feedback and Growth Mindset
Frequent feedback and a growth mindset are important in fostering a productive environment for student learning. Effective feedback offers learners timely insights into their strengths and areas for improvement and helps them refine their skills and understanding. A growth mindset encourages students to believe in their own capabilities and view challenges as opportunities for growth. For how this mindset helps learners develop crucial life skills that extend beyond the classroom, watch the Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck video.
Here are some tips for creating effective feedback in your course.
- Follow up with students who seem to be struggling and make sure they are aware of all the campus resources available to them. Visit the Student Success page for more.
- Provide timely feedback that is specific to the assignment, highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement. Offer actionable suggestions for how students can improve their work and allow students to redo assignments without penalty. For more review our effective feedback page.
- Use the Canvas comment library to efficiently provide feedback to your students and Canvas Analytics to review the data that can help you gauge whether course content is working or if it might be time to refresh some of it.
Below are other resources to help you better understand your students’ needs and to assist you in ensuring your teaching practices work for your students.
- Quick Tips for Engaging ALL Students
- Tips to Incorporate Universal Design for Learning
- Tips to Create Transparency, Structure and Routine
- How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive
- ACUE’s Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Curriculum Crosswalk
- Faculty Focus: Special Report – Diversity and Inclusion in the College Classroom
- What makes for effective feedback: staff and student perspectives
- Higher Education Today: Campus Climate and Inclusion
- Michigan State University: Inclusive Teaching Framework & Strategies
- Inclusive Teaching Strategies: Reflecting on Your Practice
- Teaching Across Cultural Strengths (in the UTSA library)