The social environment of a classroom can significantly impact a student’s attendance and participation, and their overall learning from peers, lecture, class activities, and course material.
Below, we identify some common social barriers:
- Classroom Attendance;
- Classroom Participation;
- Fitting In and Belonging; and
- Equity and Inclusion.
Strategies for mediating these barriers to enhance accessibility and inclusion follow in the next section.
|Classroom Attendance||Disabled students in particular, but non-disabled students as well, can face many barriers to class attendance and to effectively learning in a classroom environment.
Some examples include:
|Classroom Participation||Disabled students and students from other equity-seeking groups can experience great difficulty navigating high-stakes and high-pressure social environments like a classroom.
They may be:
This can result in discouraged and decreased participation, and, for some students, decreased attendance as well (McMaster Students Union, 2014; Paul, 2015; Price, 2011).
Other students may experience barriers in regulating their participation or ensuring the way they participate fits the academic conventions expected in the classroom.
These struggles may manifest as “talking too much” or sharing ideas that are seen to be “off topic” (Price, 2011).
Continue Your Learning
|Fitting In and Belonging||Disabled and non-traditional students find fitting in and integrating into postsecondary life difficult, which has been found to negatively impact their sense of belonging and academic performance (Paul, 2015).
According to the Pan-Canadian Study of First Year College Students:
This is especially important to keep in mind when incorporating class activities like group work or peer feedback, where some students may feel less similar or like a peer to their classmates than others.
|Equity and Inclusion||Particular forms of inequity and exclusion can enter our classrooms through our course material and lecture content, as explored in Module 4. Exclusion can also occur during class discussions.