Inclusive Teaching: 10 Tips for Teachers

Teaching Guidance for 5-11 11-14 14-16 16-19 IOP RESOURCES

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. Use everyday language.

    Technical jargon can be intimidating for many learners. Avoid it and make sure that you only introduce technical language or equations once the context is understood.

  2. Avoid asking for volunteers.

    Boys 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.

    Boys often dominate the equipment while girls hang back and write down the results. To avoid this, you can assign roles or use single-sex groups for practicals.
  4. Use examples that show how science links to their experience.

    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 possible.

    Try to avoid using examples that focus on stereotypically male or female hobbies or interests.
  6. Allow time for pair or group discussions.

    Give time for students to discuss answers to challenging questions before asking them to share ideas with the class.
  7. Challenge discriminatory language.

    Science is for everyone. Always treat sexist language as unacceptable, and tackle the attitudes behind it.
  8. Monitor your interaction with different genders.

    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 science-based skills.

    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.

    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.

Download the teaching tips as a PDF in the box below. 

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