Inclusive design is the idea that products and services should be designed to accommodate as many people as possible. This can include people with disabilities, but it can also mean designing products to meet a wider range of needs. For example, an inclusive classroom design could mean that the desks are adjustable so they could accommodate students of all heights, or that the room has a sink so that students can get water if they need it.
When you’re designing an inclusive classroom, you want to keep in mind that all students have their own needs and abilities. Think about some common needs—like the ability to see and hear well—and then address those needs in your design. For example, you might install a whiteboard at the front of the room so that anyone sitting anywhere in the room can see it clearly.
Inclusive classrooms are spaces where all students can thrive and feel welcome. These classrooms strive to create a sense of belonging for all learners, including those with disabilities and others who may be marginalized in society.
The goal is to create an environment where students can focus on learning rather than on the barriers that keep them from participating or succeeding. For example, a student with a physical disability might need furniture arranged in such a way that it’s easier for him or her to get around; someone who is deaf would benefit from having visual aids available in class; or students with anxiety disorders should find themselves surrounded by calming colors and textures.
Collaboration is key to creating an inclusive classroom environment. It starts by talking about what the goal is with other teachers and administrators—and then working together to make those dreams come true.
When we design classrooms, we want to make sure that every student is able to access the educational experience. We want every student to feel included and engaged in their learning, and we want every student to be able to participate in classwork and hands-on activities without feeling excluded or disadvantaged.
In our classroom designs, we consider how different students access education, how they interact with the physical space, and how they relate to the teacher and other students. We think about how each of these things can limit or enhance a student’s ability to learn.
The goal of an inclusive classroom is to create an environment that is welcoming and accessible to all learners. The key to creating this environment is understanding the diversity of the student population in your school or district, and then designing your classroom policies, procedures, and physical space around that diversity.
Take the time to learn about all of your students, and adjust your teaching style to meet their needs. Some students learn best by hearing information, others learn best by seeing it, some learn best by doing it, and still others learn best by feeling it. Try to offer a variety of opportunities for each student to engage in your lesson.
Inclusive instructional design is a philosophy that drives the many decisions educators make when they plan instruction. The aim of inclusive instructional design is to provide learning opportunities for all students, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Inclusive instructional design starts with the big picture: Which students will be attending this class. How are these students different, and how are they similar. Is there any evidence that these students have learning styles that might be different from each other?
Based on this evidence, educators can ensure that their instruction is both comprehensive and varied. This means creating a variety of different activities, lessons, and assignments that appeal to the students in their classroom. For example: if one group of students prefers to learn by reading books and another group prefers to watch videos or listen to lectures, it may be helpful to design an assignment where students can choose between a book or video.
In addition to varying the modalities through which content is presented, it’s important to consider whether the activities require individual work or group work, as well as how much choice students have in completing the assignment. For example: if some students prefer individual work while others prefer group work, a teacher may want to give their class the option of choosing which they would like to do.
Characteristics of an Inclusive Classroom
In an inclusive classroom, a teacher aims to create a learning environment that is safe and free of discrimination for all students. This includes students with disabilities, students for whom English is not their first language, students with non-traditional family structures, students who are neurodiverse, and any other student who might bring diversity to the classroom.
An inclusive classroom is one where all students are welcomed and included, regardless of their background, learning style, or ability. In an inclusive classroom, teachers understand that every student learns differently and creates a safe space for students to ask questions and seek help. Inclusive classrooms also make sure to include students with learning disabilities at the same level as able-bodied students.
When you teach in an inclusive classroom, you will find that you plan lessons at a whole group level (as opposed to planning for each student individually). You might find that you work together with your colleagues to create common lesson plans, or use a “team” approach when planning assignments and assessments.
You may also need to adapt your instruction: use different materials, explain things differently, or change the pacing of lessons. You may even find yourself teaching the same material harder for some students or breaking up your class into smaller groups to allow for more one-on-one time with individual students.
When teachers create inclusive classrooms, they aim to do so by providing accommodations and supports for these students that respect their needs without singling them out. Teachers also strive to create an environment in which all students feel accepted and valued by their peers.
For any classroom to be considered inclusive, every single student must feel welcome and safe. This does not mean that every student will necessarily share the same background or experience. But each student must feel that they have an equal opportunity to participate in activities, and that they can ask questions and have them answered without judgment or ridicule.
An inclusive classroom should encourage the broadest possible participation from all students. Every student should be given the opportunity to contribute their own ideas and perspectives to the discussion, as well as interact with others’ ideas in a respectful way. The teacher should make sure that every student has an adequate chance to speak up and share their thoughts.
Inclusive Classroom Environment Checklist
- Does this activity require students to already know a lot of academic vocabulary. If so, what can I do to support their learning of these words.
- Does this activity require students to read a lot. What can I do to support their reading. Is there a way I can offer help that won’t “out” them as struggling readers.
- What does my classroom layout look like. Is it organized in such a way that it encourages social interaction, or is it set up so that students are only interacting with me or the board. How could I change it to better encourage social interaction among the students in my class.
- You should have a variety of religious holidays listed on the calendar to celebrate in class.
- When I choose texts for my students, do I consider their interests. Do I consider texts that have been authored by people who are underrepresented in the school system or society at large. Am I choosing texts that explore diverse experiences and backgrounds beyond just white, Western experiences?
- Do my classroom rules include requirements for how students should treat each other, not just how they should behave while they’re in class (e.g., “Be kind,” “Respect everyone
- When you have group assignments, either group students yourself or let them self-select groups. Don’t allow one student to be an outlier.
- When you use examples in class discussions, try to represent different perspectives and viewpoints.
- All students know the importance of being inclusive.
- All students know their rights and responsibilities as members of the classroom.
- Specialized programs are in place to support students with special needs.
- Students are aware of and can access available resources.