AIB Oceania Chapter Teaching Café: “Fostering belonging through inclusive pedagogy” in Brisbane, Australia (Nov 25, 2022)

On November 25, 2022, the AIB Teaching & Education SIG, Women in AIB (WAIB), and the AIB Diversity & Inclusion task force jointly ran a special Teaching Café on fostering belonging through inclusive pedagogy at the annual AIB Oceania chapter research symposium at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. The Café was attended by more than a dozen participants from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and North America.

The Teaching Café was organized by Matt Raskovic from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (also AIB T&E VP for Digital communications), Bill Newburry from Florida International University, USA (AIB Fellow and Editor-in-Chief of AIB Insights), Noemi Sinkovics from Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, UK (WAIB) and Swati Nagar from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

The informal nature of the Teaching Café provided an excellent opportunity for sharing learning and teaching experiences over the last couple of years during the pandemic, as well as best practices for fostering a shared sense of belonging among learners and teachers.

The key takeaway points from the Teaching Café are as follows:

  • Striving for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is just the first step towards a pedagogy that fosters true belonging, where everyone feels not only included but feels they also belong there. Using the analogy of a school dance, diversity is akin to being invited to the dance and inclusion is akin to being asked on the dance floor. However, for everyone to feel truly welcome, true belonging is achieved when one can dance to their favorite song and/or have a say regarding the playlist. Inclusion doesn’t stop with having a seat at the table.
  • At Florida International University, each student, regardless of their major and area of study, need to complete two ‘global outlook’ courses that foster students’ global mindset and global skills, making FIU students feel part of a common international FIU community.
  • With the move to online and hybrid teaching over the last couple of years, educators are facing new challenges of creating belonging online. Creating standardized Zoom backgrounds with student names incorporated into the backgrounds, color-coding Zoom backgrounds for various group exercises, and using so-called “buzz groups” to energize online teaching, are just some of the ways of building an online community fostering belonging.
  • At the University of Glasgow, Noemi Sinkovics runs a survey of student learning preferences at the beginning of each course. The results are then discussed in class with students, so they understand different students have different preferences, wishes, and needs. Some students “prefer to be left alone” and “do their thing,” which calls for a more individualized learning and teaching approach. Too often, introverts feel they do not belong in a class, which shouldn’t be the case.

The AIB T&E SIG, WAIB, and the AIB Diversity & Inclusion task forces wish to especially thank the organizer of the AIB Oceania chapter conference, Professor Sara McGaughey from the Queensland University of Technology, for ‘shouting’ a very nice breakfast for the Teaching Café. Thanks, Sara!