Universities have a much more diverse student population today than in the past. They come in with a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, skills, and motivations. Managing such a diverse student population is challenging even to professors who have been teaching for many years. Here are eight tips to help you make connect with every student.
1. Watch for assumptions you might make such as thinking that all students come from traditional families or that all students have parents who went to college.
2. Use both the terms “he” and “she” in your lectures and correct your students when they make assumptions. Not all managers or engineers are male and not all secretaries or nurses are female.
3. Call on your students equally without favoring any one gender, age group, race, or nationality.
4. Use examples in class that draw from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.
5. Address inappropriate comments made by students in class that stereotype others. Take the time to make this a “teaching moment” to sensitize your students to the harm that their words and actions can do.
6. Get to know the name of each student and invite them to get to know you by coming to see you during office hours.
7. Encourage students with disabilities to see you so you can make accommodations that will allow them to fully participate in the class.
8. Ask your non-traditional students to share their work and life experiences with the other students in the classroom.