Creating a Welcoming Physical Environment

Not only should the content of a curriculum be designed to appeal to a broad range of students, but the classroom a computer science course is offered in should appeal to all students as well. Typical computer science work places and classroom environments may not appeal to underrepresented students such as women and minorities. The presentation (left) and resources (below) will share some tips on ways to make your classroom more inviting. (Slides from video)

How to Create a Welcoming Physical Environment

  • Avoid images and phrases that reinforce stereotypes

  • Use natural & neutral decor items

  • Keep classroom clutter free and bright

  • Provide space for collaboration and mobility

  • Display student projects and upcoming opportunities

  • Include info about diverse CS careers and role models

  • Label items in both languages

  • Post maps, flags, and cultural images from a variety of countries

Activity

Take a few minutes to complete this welcoming environment activity (the link will force you to make a copy of the Google slide). Arrange the images (or delete them) to create your welcoming classroom.

Reflection Activity

Consider the following questions:

  • What kind of classroom do you teach in now? Share a picture with your group if you have one.

  • How well does your classroom layout facilitate student collaboration? Are desks and tables in groups or can they be moved?

  • What kind of wall decorations do you have? What aspects would you change to reduce stereotype threat in the room? (See the resources above for posters)