Inclusive communication

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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. The term "inclusive communication" not only encompasses language used in the classroom, but it also encompasses actions and behaviors. For instance, if a faculty member made more eye contact with men than with woman, responded more extensively to questions asked by men, or called on males more frequently, these behaviors would be considered non-inclusive communication, and therefore discouraging of an inclusive classroom.


Sandler and Hall's research, which focused upon women, 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."


Name: Chelsea

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.

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