CFT Teaching Guides Week: Day 2
Day 2: Teaching Students with Disabilities
Students of all abilities and backgrounds want classrooms that are inclusive and convey respect. For those students with disabilities, the classroom setting may present certain challenges that need accommodation and consideration. – “Teaching Students with Disabilities” CFT Teaching Guide
Today’s featured teaching guide is “Teaching Students with Disabilities“, written by Graduate Teaching Fellow, Danielle Picard, in conjunction with the CFT’s theme on “Teaching, Difference, and Power”. This teaching guide sheds light on another type of difference that can affect student learning and classroom climate and is a type of difference that can sometimes be overlooked in conversations on diversity in higher education and inclusive teaching.
Disabilities are not always easily identifiable or do not present outwardly in the classroom. Students in our classrooms might have disabilities ranging from ADHD to physical impairments to GI disorders, and some of those students may inform instructors of their disabilities, while others may not for many reasons. How do instructors navigate those situations? How can instructors plan for something they may not know about their students? It is our responsibility as instructors to consider our courses and classrooms in ways that address the needs and backgrounds of our students, from making sure that physical learning spaces are always accessible to designing our syllabi as welcoming documents. So how can we move towards a more inclusive classroom for students with disabilities?
“Teaching Students with Disabilities” explores different disabilities that students might have, highlights possible student anxieties associated with talking about those disabilities with instructors or other students, and provides strategies and resources for instructors both at Vanderbilt and elsewhere interested in rethinking their classrooms and courses to better reflect their students.
As always, we appreciate your feedback, so if you would like to share your experiences and/or advice and resources with us, please do so in the comment section below!
Featured Image: “Teach/Learn,” Duane Schoon, Flickr (CC-BY)