EdSe3204 Fall 06:
General Instructional Methods (4 cr)

Helen Mongan-Rallis
Julia Williams
Trudie Hughes

Course Pages

UMD Links & Resources

Technology Resources

Getting to Know Students & Creating An Inclusive Learning Environment

Alignment with Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice:

  • 3C. know about the process of second language acquisition and about strategies to support the learning of students whose first language is not English
  • 3H.  understand cultural and community diversity; and know how to learn about and incorporate a student's experiences, cultures, and community resources into instruction
  • 5C.  know how to create learning environments that contribute to the self-esteem of all persons and to positive interpersonal relations;
  • 5E.  understand the principles of effective classroom management and use a range of strategies to promote positive relationships, cooperation, and purposeful learning in the classroom;
  • 5I.  establish peer relationships to promote learning

[Important note: this assignment was modified from the one originally designed at the start of this semester, based on Helen's discussion with the other Block faculty and on the number of other assignments that you are being asked to do while you are at your apprenticeship site. The one here still addresses the same standards, but in a way that is not as extensive as originally proposed. If you already have done the assignment as originally proposed, you do not have to do this revised version instead! Please let Helen know if this is the case]


While you are out in your apprenticeship site you will be asked to engage in discussions with others from our class on WebX on the topic of getting to know students and creating an inclusive learning environment. To prepare for this:

  1. Talk to different teachers and ask them how they (a) get to know their students as individuals (b) incorporate what they know about students, their backgrounds, and their community into setting up their classrooms and in their teaching.
  2. Poke your head into as many classrooms as you can – be sure to visit a selection out of your subject area and across grade levels.
  3. Ask a variety of your students  (from different backgrounds, interests, skill levels) which classrooms they like most, and why.
  4. Search online (e.g. see sample resources below) and read print resources to learn more about what teachers can do to get to know students and create inclusive learning environments.

Then, in WebX, you will share your findings within small group discussions (you will be notified by email when to begin this discussion).

Synthesis of your observations from Apprenticeship and WebX discussions:

Develop this as an artifact for your professional portfolio. Have it be presented in a way that will be helpful:

  • in guiding you when you are teaching and looking for tips and strategies
  • to a person/committee who might be interviewing you for a teaching position.

Some sample resources to get you started:

  1. Getting to Know Your Students: (Committee on Undergraduate Research, 1997. Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook. National Academy Press, Washington D.C.)
  2. How to Get Started . There are many useful links on this page to give you ideas on different ways to start out creating an inviting classroom based on an understanding of who your students are. Examples:
  3. Getting to Know You
  4. Setting Up Your Intermediate Classroom by Julie Dermody
  5. Setting Up Your High School Classroom by Paul Hewitt
  6. Getting Parents Involved in Your Program by Cynthia Carbone War
  7. Working with Parents Survival Guide For New Teachers, U.S. Department of Education
  8. MiddleWeb
  9. Looking collaboratively at student work: An essential toolkit. Kathleen Kushman Horace. Volume 13, #2. Nov. 1996.


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