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How to Create an Equitable Classroom

Posted by on Aug 1, 2020 | Comments Off on How to Create an Equitable Classroom

How to Create an Equitable Classroom

With COVID-19 and comprehensive distance learning becoming the norm, educational accessibility flaws are magnified. Students are missing out due to not being able to have access to a comprehensive and inclusive education – a priority for educating youth.

As an educator, there are many things outside of your control as you  provide access to educational opportunities for all students. However, what you can control is the environment you create within your classroom. Equity in classrooms means eliminating the barriers and biases that impact all students. An equitable classroom offers a comprehensive learning environment, with discussions and space for all different types of identities and experiences. The following list of tips is a great place to start to create a more equitable and inclusive classroom culture:

Include Student Perspective: Have open conversations with your students regarding what they are interested in learning. Having students participate in lesson planning can help increase overall participation and focus on the topic. 

Inclusive Lesson Plan: Create a lesson plan surrounding topics students have brainstormed. Include articles, books, and videos that are inclusive and representative of all types of people and identities. Consider perspectives and voices that are often underrepresented, such as people of color, people within the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities.

Encourage Critical Thinking: Encourage students to think critically about the topics you’re discussing. Practicing critical thinking encourages students to delve deeper, and paves the way for them to empathize with others’ experiences. Remind students that these discussions can be challenging – a part of growth and understanding other perspectives is leaning into the discomfort of those conversations, but also holding a safe space for them to happen. 

Model Accountability and Allyship: Create a classroom environment where students and staff support each other. Teach your students that making mistakes is a part of individual growth. Encourage them to take responsibility for themselves and be open to feedback. As an educator, modeling accountability will normalize these positive behaviors within the classroom. 

Always Say Something: If problematic or hurtful comments or language comes up during discussions, it is always better to say something than nothing at all. Students look to their educators and will notice if problematic comments are not addressed. Saying nothing reinforces students feeling a lack of support from school staff. Create classroom guidelines surrounding empathy and a zero tolerance policy regarding harassment or disrespect towards other students. 

Listen and Learn: Take advantage of professional development opportunities. The following is a list of resources to support educators with creating more equitable and inclusive classrooms:

Ophelia’s Place offers school staff and adult education opportunities about many topics, like self-care, bullying prevention, media & body image and more. To learn more, call (541) 284-4333 or email info@opheliasplace.net