Culturally Responsive Teaching

First Impressions

Will Rogers, the American actor and social commentator, said, "You never get a second chance to make a great first impression". This is true with your equitable online classroom. Make sure your course is ready and welcoming to your students before you open it. Here are a few ideas to make your online class more open to your students.

  • Review your syllabus and edit it to make it more open and cooperative.
    • Look to replace "you" with "we". This helps to break down the wall between student and instructor and helps students see that they are not alone in this learning opportunity.
    • Simple changes such as replace "Office Hours" with "Student Hours" will encourage students to see that time as an open invitation to communicate with you. 
  • Provide your students with an introduction to yourself as well as the course.
    • A casual "hello" with some background and personal information helps to "break the ice" with your students.
    • Talk about your pets or your hobbies, things that your students might have in common with you. This helps the students to be at ease and makes you more approachable.
    • You want your students to see you as their "partner in learning" not as the strict "Gatekeeper of Knowledge". 
  • In the introduction to the course, provide information where content is located in the course.
    • Remember, your students have never been in your class before they don't know where anything is or when anything is due.
    • Don't forget, you want to create an atmosphere of welcome and collaboration in the course.

Education is not just knowledge; it is empowerment. Best practices in online teaching and course design dovetail beautifully with the principles of Equity teaching. By using these practices in your daily approach, you not only create motivated learners but stronger personalities that help to bridge the divides in life. As Audre Lorde stated, "It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences."

Frederick Community College prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, mental or physical disability, national origin, race, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its activities, admissions, educational programs, and employment.