Learning is inconsequential without purpose and participation. To create the conditions for learning that invite, involve and invest true meaning for learners: there needs to be a promise of equity.
When considering multiple entry points and planning for engagement – don’t lose sight of your audience. Where they are and what they have experienced should serve as the foundation for your practice. It is only through multiple lenses and by using many perspectives that we can truly comprehend what it means to be excluded – and therefore – take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen within our classroom walls.
Equity should be the lifeblood of our educational system. It is the framework that contextualizes our theory into practice. By reaching every student, we, as educators, ensure that our approaches are inclusive and our teaching is relevant to everyone.
By using inclusive language, considering alternative points of view and providing opportunities for communities to speak up and have their voices heard – our education system will stay relevant and rewarding for all that it involves.
Without tailoring lessons to reflect the diversity in ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status (among other things) that live within our school walls and communities, we are failing to capitalize on the true life experiences and application, to the outside world that our students so dearly need. If we are, indeed, delivering a 21st century educational experience, it must grow out of the views of diversity in a global world - not the educational traditions that continue to live on out of comfort and ease-of-use.
3 Things to Ensure Equity in Your Practice
1. Provide a venue for all voices to be heard and considered – A class blog, school website, class newsletter, or parent nights – as many as can be utilized to provide opportunities for input and collaboration with community.
2. Question yourself – Put your own bias and experiences under the microscope to see where you’re approach to teaching (and learning) is coming from.
3. Advocate for the silent – Pay attention to the groups that you are not engaging in conversations. Getting to the heart of this could reveal real systemic problems that need to be identified, addressed and improved in your classroom or school community.
By taking steps to ensure that equity and inclusiveness are alive and well in your own professional practice, you will be making good on the promise (you likely made to yourself) to reach all students and make a difference in the lives of the students you teach.