Inclusive teaching

Inclusive teaching for 14-16 16-19

For our latest resources for inclusive teaching see:

The resources below were created as part of the Improving Gender Balance project. 

Inclusive Teaching: 10 Tips for Teachers

Inclusive teaching for

These teaching tips were developed from our research into gender and behaviour patterns. We recognise that there are variants and these behaviours are not the experience of all individuals. Inclusive teaching is therefore intended to support all students. 

  1. Speech bubble graphicUse everyday language.                                                                                                                        Low confidence learners can be intimidated by technical jargon. Avoid it and make sure that you only introduce technical language or equations once the context is understood.

  2. Avoid asking for volunteers.hands up graphic                                                                                                                  Some groups may be more likely to raise their hands, call out answers and volunteer to take part in activities. Other techniques, such as individual whiteboards or selecting students at random, can broaden the range of students participating.

  3. Assign roles for practical work.n/a                                                                                                                Certain students are more likely to dominate the active roles while others may take on more passive roles, like writing. To avoid this, you can assign roles or use single-sex groups for practical and group activities.                                                                                                                     
  4. Use examples that show how science links to their experience.n/a
                                                                                        This is useful for all students, but research shows that girls in particular tend to appreciate context and seeing the bigger picture.                                                                      
  5. Use gender-neutral contexts whenever possiblen/a.                                                                                           Try to avoid using examples that focus on stereotypically male or female hobbies or interests.                                                      
  6. Allow time for pair or group discussions.n/a                                                                                                  Give time for students to discuss answers to challenging questions before asking them to share ideas with the class.                                                                                                                    
  7. Challenge discriminatory language.n/a                                                                                                      Science is for everyone. Always treat sexist language as unacceptable, and tackle the attitudes behind it.                                                                                               
  8. Monitor your interaction with different gendersn/a.                                                                                                You might be surprised at the ratio of different genders asking or answering questions in your class. Keep a note yourself or ask a colleague or student to observe one of your lessons and keep count.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  9. Regularly refer to a range of careers that use skills from your subject.n/a                                                                                                                                                              Girls are more likely to consider their future career when choosing their options. Emphasise the transferable skills that studying science helps to develop.                                                                                                                               
  10. Ensure that your students are exposed to a diverse range of scientists.n/a                                                                                                                                                      Be wary of giving your students the impression that science is only for high achievers. Emphasise that science is for everyone, irrespective of their background.


Classroom interactions self-evaluation

Inclusive teaching for

Research by the Institute of Physics suggests that boys tend to dominate in the classroom, answering more questions and getting more of the teacher’s attention, usually without the teacher being aware of any imbalance. This template will help you to assess your own practice. If you are comfortable doing so, you may find it useful to invite a colleague or student to complete the template for you during a lesson.

Number in class
Hands up
Questions directed at
Answers called out by
Questions asked by

Note: Some students may not identify as boys or girls. Please edit this template as appropriate for the needs of your class.

Inclusive learning in the physics classroom – a checklist for teachers of physics

Inclusive teaching for

This checklist is a set of questions designed to help teachers of physics to record and extend their own genderinclusive practice.

  • Have you asked your classes what they think physics is, and why physics is useful to study? Did you monitor the answers from the girls and boys?
  • Have you got “real-world” examples to use to introduce each new topic?
  • Do you select analogies, examples and themes for assignments that both genders are equally likely to be able to relate to (e.g. tennis and cycling in addition to football and cars)?
  • So that work has a clear rationale, do you make a point of following the sequence: applications – principles – applications?
  • Do you give examples of careers that use the knowledge and skills developed in the topic?
  • Do you expose your students to a diverse range of scientists?
  • Do you use a variety of questioning techniques?
  • Do you adopt styles of questioning that take account of some girls’ stated preferences for time for reflection and discussion?
  • In group and project work, do you ensure that roles are rotated so that all students have equal access to equipment, and take a turn doing note-taking and clerical activities?
  • Do you monitor the proportion of time that you spend interacting with boys in comparison with the time spent interacting with girls?

This list may also be helpful for use in appraisals by line managers, as well as for use by teacher trainers and inspectors. The list is based on the IOP’s Engaging with Girls report (2009) and more recent work from the Improving Gender Balance project. More information on the project and copies of the full report can be found at

Inclusive careers guidance

Inclusive teaching for 14-16 16-19

This guide explores where gender expectations can creep into careers guidance and suggests ways to reduce these inequalities. Download the full PDF below.

  1. Every school and college should have an embedded programme of careers education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
    • Progression data from previous years can help to identify trends in gender gaps in your school.
    • Use multiple opportunities to share the message that gender bias is not acceptable or inevitable, and can be reduced using suitable strategies.
  2. Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities.
    • Use multiple opportunities to direct families to careers information they can access at home e.g. and
    • Check CEIAG resources for gender stereotypes in images and examples before sharing. Also check that the language is suitable for non-specialists.
  3. Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil.
    • Use opportunities in form-time, PSHE, lessons and CEIAG meetings to help students understand gender stereotyping and its impact on them. A good place to start is challenging stereotypes .
    • Use Compass+ to break down your cohort. Use the tool to track pupil progress, identify the needs of each young person and target relevant careers interventions.
  4. All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
    • Audit CEIAG references and images used in lessons, curriculum resources and options booklets for gender stereotyping. Try using personal pronouns (e.g. you or yours) and avoid gendered pronouns (s/he or his/hers) or impersonal pronouns (e.g. they, theirs).
    • Show non-typical gender job roles in lessons using video clips from the likes of
  5. Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.
    • Avoid using gender biased names for jobs e.g. use firefighter not fireman.
    • Audit the gender balance of speakers and visitors; take positive action to redress gender imbalances.
    • Past pupils can be very powerful role models when it comes to challenging stereotypical roles; look for opportunities to invite them in to engage with students, tap into programmes such,, Future First and/or reach out to your local Enterprise Adviser via
  6. Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.
    • Prepare students so they can use the visit to ask about gender bias e.g. raising questions about the gender pay gap and gender split at different levels of seniority, and performing different roles.
    • Raise awareness by sharing information and invitations with whole year groups. One group should not receive preferential treatment compared to other groups, however, positive discrimination, for example personal invitations, can be used to target underrepresented groups.
  7. All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.
    • Families often have gendered expectations for their child’s choice of courses, even if this is unconscious. This may also vary by socio-economic and cultural background.
    • Audit prospectuses beforehand for gender bias; if you have concerns, consider raising the issue directly with the provider.
    • Share information about courses and invitations to events with whole year groups to avoid gender stereotyping; use personal invitations based on skill sets to target underrepresented groups.
  8. Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a career adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level.
    • Use a tick list to identify if gender is mentioned when talking about jobs by you or the student.
    • Ensure questions and statements avoid gender bias and focus on skills and attributes, for example “I recommend this course because of your interests/achievements…”, rather than “I recommend this course because other girls who’ve taken it have enjoyed it…”.
    • Make careers booklets available online and adjust to match the level of learner. This ensures they can be accessed freely, in and out of school. The booklets can also act as lesson resources and a record of activities and discussions.

Search all our inclusive teaching resources and find more resources to challenge stereotypes on the IOP website and Gender Action.

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