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Develop Inclusive Practices (A5)

This inclusive teaching guide is aligned to the University's Baseline Standards for Inclusive Learning and Teaching and the Professional Standards Framework  A5.  It provides general advice on how you can develop yourself as an inclusive practitioner through your continuing professional development. 

Innovating your teaching practice

Join institution-wide networks and events

Talk to colleagues about how they make their teaching inclusive

  • Many schools now have a School Academic Lead for Inclusive Pedagogies (SALIP) who can help you explore ideas around inclusive practice. Work with them to introduce or suggest departmental inclusivity seminars for discussions of good practice and current projects.
  • Creating groups of colleagues with a shared interest in inclusivity gives you a support network and space to learn and suggest ideas to enhance your practice and the practice of your peers.
  • Model our institutional value of inclusion and approach to partnership by involving your students in discussions about the development of teaching practice too.
  • Ask for inclusivity to be a standing item on your departmental or team meeting agendas. This raises the profile of inclusive learning and teaching so that it becomes ‘business as usual’.

Tap into diversity as a learning resource

  • Design your curricula to focus on diversity in the classroom as a point of discussion and student enrichment.
  • In higher education, we have an opportunity to expose students to new ideas and to help them develop their identities through connecting with peers from backgrounds that may be very different to their own. This is a broadening experience which promotes global citizenship amongst our graduates and helps to prepare them for a richly diverse world.

Explore sensitive or controversial topics in your teaching in a way which is mindful

  • Spark empathy by encouraging your students who have had different life experiences and who have different values and views, to work together. This will help to avoid the risk of disharmony, polarisation or conflict. To learn more, see our guide to Small Group Teaching.
  • Devise ‘ground rules’ with your students at the start of your seminars and tutorials, underpinned by respect for others.

Maintain an awareness of developments in the sector regarding inclusivity

  • Attend external events and engage with educational research, generic and discipline-specific, on inclusivity.
  • This quality assures and quality enhances your provision by enabling you to benchmark it against national standards and practice in other higher education institutions.

Checklists and benchmarks for inclusivity

Develop self-awareness and an understanding of what constitutes good practice in relation to inclusivity. Monitor and maintain your own practice in relation to it.

  • Checklists can give you something to benchmark your practice against and trigger reflection. This helps you to develop as a teacher, designing teaching sessions and activities, learning materials and assessments which are inclusive for an increasingly diverse student cohort. Designing for inclusivity eventually becomes automatic, and instead of thinking of inclusive design in terms of making reasonable adjustments, you learn to design curricula which is inclusive for all.
  • As well as our own inclusive teaching guides, many other Universities have also produced excellent resources and checklists. Here are a few:
  • Advance HE provide a number of Equality and Diversity Factsheets for Academics. The factsheet on Promoting Good Relations (2013) is particularly useful.

Sharing your work on inclusive teaching (online and other)

Reflect on whether you have introduced inclusive teaching or assessment methods which would be of interest to the wider academic community. Disseminate these innovations.

  • Present on inclusive teaching practices at internal and external events.
  • Work your research into publishable articles and in the spirit of inclusivity, get your work published in open-access journals.
  • Consider sharing your inclusive practice, research and reflections online through the use of social media and blogging. Many educators and researchers are active on Twitter for example, where supportive and mutually beneficial, global personal learning networks (PLNs) are fostered. These can also lead to global collaborations, further international recognition and increased research impact.
  • It is important for your own and other people’s continuing professional development to disseminate your research to promote the development of support networks and communities of good practice, in relation to inclusive learning, teaching and assessment. If you innovate, you should disseminate.

Consider whether to produce research on inclusive learning and teaching in general, or in relation to a specific student group.

  • Consider multi-sensory dissemination / publication (if possible) to appeal to diverse audiences and ensure your presentation materials are digitally accessible, to reflect good classroom practice and accessibility standards. To learn more, please refer to our Digital Accessibility website.
  • There is also a pragmatic reason for sharing your work: institutional submissions to the Teaching Excellence Framework are also enhanced by a proven commitment to inclusive practice.

Consider co-authoring publications with students with diverse perspectives.

  • Recruit student researchers to work on inclusivity projects with you and add their names to outputs.
  • This will lend the authenticity of the student voice to your research whilst broadening your students’ university experience and enhancing their employability. This is particularly beneficial for your students if they are interested in an academic career.

Be professionally recognised for your practice

Apply for recognition as a Fellow (any category) of the Higher Education Academy.

  • Follow our institutional Professional Recognition in Student Education (PRiSE) (OD&PL website)  route or make a direct application to Advance HE
  • Our Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) is another route to gain HEA Fellowship. It is designed to help participants develop a solid grounding in teaching in Higher Education, including inclusive approaches, for colleagues who want to enhance their  practice.
  • The Professional Standards Framework (PSF), against which applications for Fellowship are made, sets out the criteria that are considered to be core to the professional practice of a teacher or supporter of student learning in higher education. These include several professional values which have diversity and inclusivity at their heart. Applying for Fellowship is therefore a way of reflecting on, and developing, your teaching practice to ensure that it is inclusive; successful completion of the process provides national recognition that this is the case.
  • Engaging with our inclusive teaching guides which are mapped directly to the PSF Areas of Activity will assist you in developing your practice to support your Fellowship application.



Guide written by Rebecca Dearden and Dr Rebecca O’Loughlin | Updated September 2022 by Jenny Brady

© University of Leeds 2022 | Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)