Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education Announces Inclusive Teaching and Learning Capsule

The initiative, designed to provide Berklee faculty with the resources to teach students of every level and ability, is the first of its kind in performing arts higher education.

January 18, 2024

The Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education (BIAAE) has unveiled the Inclusive Teaching and Learning (ITL) Capsule (login required), a first-of-its-kind suite of resources designed to help educators incorporate inclusive teaching practices into classroom lessons, studio sessions, rehearsal spaces, and all other forms of music instruction. The ITL Capsule includes a series of self-guided modules curated for Berklee faculty to foster a more inclusive learning environment for students with physical disabilities as well as neurodivergent disabilities and diagnoses.

The capsule was first announced at this year's Berklee Teachers on Teaching (BTOT) 2024 conference, where BIAAE founder and managing director Dr. Rhoda Bernard and her team presented on how the platform was developed and how it can be used to make higher arts education accessible for all learners. The collection of training tools and resources represents the first such pedagogical initiative to infuse inclusive learning into college-level performing arts.

Dr. Rhoda Bernard introduces the ITL Capsule at the Berklee Teachers on Teaching conference.

“Our team has worked diligently and tirelessly to create the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Capsule, and we are excited to share these invaluable resources with the Berklee community,” said Bernard, who also serves as the assistant chair of the Music Education Department. “Currently, collegiate arts educators receive very little training and support in how to include all learners, regardless of their abilities and how they most effectively engage in an educational setting. This capsule is an extremely important step towards our commitment to making music education possible for all students at Berklee and its global campuses. Our hope is that eventually the capsule can serve as a model for inclusive learning in every arts education classroom and community.”

The BIAAE received a 2023 Inclusive Teaching and Learning Grant from Berklee’s Office of Faculty Development to create the ITL Capsule, enabling them to build a series of self-paced materials and resources on inclusive teaching and learning practices designed especially for Berklee faculty. In addition to BIAAE staff, Berklee alumni and other artists with disabilities were consulted throughout multiple stages of research and development, and the capsule was beta tested by the Pedagogy Arts Collective (login required).

The capsule begins with an introductory module with information about neurodiversity, disability, diagnoses, ableism, and language. The two subsequent modules focus on specific teaching strategies and frameworks that are grounded in evidence-based practices in special education and arts education. Practical resources available in the training platform include one-page downloadable summary sheets, templates for accessible syllabi, and materials meant to encourage self-reflection, as well discussion and engagement with fellow colleagues and educators.

As the rollout of the first phase of the capsule continues, the development team at BIAAE has set ambitious goals for its expansion, such as publishing a textbook that would incorporate the capsule’s training materials and support resources, as well as an online course.

Learn more about the ITL Capsule in this introductory video with Dr. Rhoda Bernard: