Equity in Education: Five Principles to Consider
Many teachers choose a career in education because they want to make a positive impact on children’s futures. Good teachers share their love of learning and inspire students to succeed. Great teachers promote equity in education.
Equity in education means creating a teaching environment that caters to students individually. In an equitable education environment, all students can access the resources and support they need to achieve their learning goals—no matter what their language, economic status, gender, race, learning capabilities, or disabilities may be.
It is important to note that equality is different from equity. Equality indicates that everything is equal. Equity strives for fairness for all. Equality focuses on the group, while equity is focused on individuals. Equality tends toward generic, one-size-fits-all approaches. Equity is adaptable.
If you’re committed to equity in education, discover five principles to consider when striving for equity in your classroom.
- Examine your beliefs.
Be aware that you’re likely bringing your own biases and assumptions into the classroom. Take time to reflect upon how you unconsciously may treat students differently based on the way they dress, speak, behave, look, or live. The key word is “unconsciously”—by definition, we are often unaware of our biases, and that can make it difficult to recognize them. Project Implicit’s Implicit Association Test can be a great starting point for learning more about yourself. Once you’re aware of your biases, you can work to overcome and eliminate them.
- Accommodate different learning styles.
Provide educational opportunities that support students with differing learning styles. For instance, incorporate a variety of media and techniques in your lessons, including silent reading, reading aloud, videos, role-playing, and hands-on activities. Try group, paired, and individual activities. When asking questions, have students write down their answers, say them aloud individually, or participate in a group discussion. Different teaching strategies provide new opportunities for students to engage.
- Reflect your students in curriculum.
Review your curriculum. Will your students see themselves reflected in it? Consider the books in the classroom, the décor on the walls, and your lesson plans. When your students feel connected to the curriculum, they can better retain content. They’re more likely to be engaged, which increases their learning opportunities.
- Incorporate student input.
What better way to ensure that your classroom is reflective of your students than by involving them? Encourage your students to voice their opinions, plan activities, and bring their unique experiences into the classroom. (Just be sure to engage the students who are less likely to speak up.) When students see that you take their input seriously, they understand that they matter.
- Assess student performance regularly.
Regular assessments are a critical factor in educational equity. They give teachers the opportunity to see what’s working in their approach. If some students aren’t thriving, it’s an opportunity for you to evaluate how you can increase equity so that all of your students succeed.
Education has the power to change lives. Equity has the power to change education so that no child is left behind.
As a teacher, your own education is the key to success. Walden University is an accredited online college that offers online master’s in education degree programs that enable teachers to earn a degree while continuing to work. Walden’s flexible online learning platform allows you to study on your own schedule, wherever you have an internet connection. And you can put what you’re learning to use in your classroom right away.
Walden’s mission is to provide a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change. Learn from the Educator of Educators™. Walden is No. 1 in MSEd graduates in the U.S.1
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education online degree program with multiple specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code 13.01 (Education, General). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved February 2020; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
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