Inclusive teaching resources

Inclusive teaching resource for

The IOP has been working to understand and redress the gender imbalance in post-16 physics. We have created a suite of resources, shaped by our research, to promote inclusive teaching. You can access them on the IOP website. Additionally, the Institute of Physics co-founded the Gender Action awards programme, which produced a range of resources to challenge gender stereotypes in nurseries, schools and colleges. Its resources can also be used to challenge inequalities more broadly.

In this collection, you will find inclusive teaching tips, a self-evaluation template for classroom interactions and an inclusive learning checklist.

Inclusive Teaching: 10 Tips for Teachers

Teaching Guidance 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 resource 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 resource for

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

Check your gender-inclusive practice in schemes of work and individual lessonsI do this routinelyNeeds further development
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?
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