Call her Coco Champion. Coco Gauff is a grand slam winner and a teenager breaking barriers, triumphing in the elitist world of tennis. The corporate world is no different. So, indulge us, we have applied tennis metaphors to share what we at Archetypical have learned in five years of developing inclusive learning programmes. 

Learning, like tennis, is a game of back and forth. So let’s break it down, game-set-match style!

1. Serve and Return: Flexibility is your main weapon

Inclusivity starts with a powerful serve, just like a tennis match. As learning professionals, our “serve” is our flexibility. We launch the game by recognizing that every learner is unique, just as every tennis opponent has their style. We serve up various learning options allowing each participant to return the ball their way – be it visually, auditorily, or kinesthetically. Introverts? Extroverts? We cater to them all. 

2. Game of Advantage: Check Your Privilege

In this inclusive game, privilege is a bit like the advantage point in tennis. So, before the game begins, take a moment to “check your privilege.” Just like a player inspects their racket, analyze your own background and biases. By doing this, you level the playing field and prevent any unfair advantages.

3. Surprises and Gentle Backhands: Challenging the Status Quo

Tennis matches can be full of surprises, be ready for them. It’s like delivering a gentle backhand shot, challenging the status quo. Shake things up by introducing diverse perspectives and content. Just as a tennis match evolves with every shot, your classroom should evolve with each challenging idea anyone brings to the fore. Allow yourself to be surprised and stay curious and be ready for the unexpected. 

4. Rally and Evolution: Adapting Your Program

Inclusivity isn’t a static state; it’s a dynamic rally. Keep that ball (or lesson plan) moving. Listen to feedback, switch up strategies, and make adjustments. This rally is the heart of inclusive teaching, keeping everyone engaged and involved in the game. 

5. Match Point: Calling In and Calling Out

The climax of a tennis match is match point – a crucial moment. Similarly, in inclusivity, there are moments when you must decide whether to “call in” or “call out.” “Calling in” is like a friendly, one-on-one chat with a participant who needs guidance. “Calling out,” on the other hand, is like challenging a questionable line call. When signalling behaviour that fails to include others you turn exclusion into a teaching moment. Use both tactics wisely to maintain a fair and respectful game.

Inclusivity demands checkpoints. Regularly check-in with your learners, just as the score is checked in a tennis match. Seek feedback to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Then, like a post-match analysis, check-out, reflecting on what worked and what can be improved.

In this grand game of corporate learning, creating an inclusive environment is like a thrilling tennis match, complete with serves, returns, rallies, and match points. By being flexible, checking your privilege, introducing surprises, evolving with your programme, and knowing when to call in or out, you’ll create a match-winning experience for all learners. 

We develop fun learning experiences for our clients, to talk to us if you would like to know more.