From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
Inclusive communication refers to discourse that is non-biased.
Roberta M Hall, and Bernice R. Sandler compiled information showing the impact of non-inclusive communication in the classroom. An example of non-inclusive communication practiced in the classroom is the use of non-parallel terminology. Often times, faculty will refer to males in a classroom as "men" where areas the females in the classroom are referred to as "girls" or "gals". The use of such terminology provides the implication that women are "less serious and less capable" than men, in turn marginalizing women in the classroom. Another example of such behavior is apparent when a faculty member may "coach" men to a higher degree in comparison to women. For instance, by encouraging a male student to elaborate on a topic by stating "Tell me more about that" while not doing the same for women.
Even though the primary subject of Hall and Sandler's research is women in general, they also highlight issues specifically found with women of color as well as women within the GLBT community.
Sandler and Hall's research demonstrated that biased language used by faculty resulted in low rates of participation by women. Female students stated that when attempting to communicate with faculty, many times they were interrupted, provided little eye contact, and offered little guidance or criticism in the classroom. Hall and Sandler provide a number of recommendations for undergraduate professors to create an inclusive environment in the classroom.
- "Make a specific effort to call directly on women as well as on men students"
- "Assume an attentive posture when responding to women's questions or listening to their comments."
- "Use the same tone in talking with women as with men students"
- "Note patterns of interruption to determine if women students are interrupted more than men-either by yourself or by other students."
- "Use parallel terminology when addressing women and men students in class, or referring to men and women in classroom examples."
- "Watch for and respond to nonverbal cues that indicate women students' readiness to participate in class."
Source: "Inclusive Communication." McMaster University. McMaster University, 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://www.mcmaster.ca/hres/inclusive_communication.html>.
Hall, Roberta M., and Bernice R. Sandler. The Classroom Cimate: A Chilly One for Women? Rep. Washington, D.C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges, 1982. Print.