As communities grow and diversify, promoting equality in the classroom becomes necessary to create an environment where every student can succeed and learn, regardless of race, sex, or gender. Equality in the classroom involves providing equal opportunities to every student.
When all students have access to the same resources, they will be more motivated to learn and stay productive. If everyone believes they have been offered an equitable start, their role in society later on as adults will be more positive.
To practice equality and diversity in the classroom, teachers should make an effort to make every child feel like they belong. When everyone receives equal treatment from an authority figure, gaps that accentuate differences between people cease to exist.
And even though an ideal world where nobody gets treated differently is far out of reach, at the moment, no effort in this regard is negligible.
Following are presented the best ways in which the best teachers can do such things as make their classrooms more equal and diverse.
1. Consider Specialized Education
Being qualified to affect change requires that you are equipped with the right educational mindset that can help people adopt equality and inclusivity more broadly.
Specialized education in social work may provide you with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by educators when implementing equality and inclusivity within communities. In order to prepare for the struggles and hurdles in way of promoting equality and inclusivity, you will need to go through a social work program that will lend you the required skills, enabling you to devise better solutions.
If you have to create a more inclusive and diverse culture within your community, but don’t have the time to pursue an on-campus degree, then an online master of social work may be the right fit for your needs. It will impart all the necessary skills you’ll need from a social works degree, but offer you the flexibility to pursue it from home. You’ll also gather key insights into how you can bring more inclusivity and equality into your classrooms through these programs.
2. Obliterate Race and Gender Barriers
Even if not done outrightly, some teachers may end up acting biased toward students of a certain race or sex. These barriers, although are not openly expressed or visible, might be causing the affected students to contract from participation or feel excluded. Therefore, as a teacher, your job is to stay extra vigilant regarding your behavior when dealing with students of the opposite gender or a different race, so as to prevent yourself from stepping on any cultural and race sensitivity issues.
Make an effort to include every student in class discussions so that nobody feels left out. Also, avoid any stereotyping in your classes and don’t favor certain children in front of the whole class. Make sure to hold the same level of expectations for every student because you don’t want to undermine someone on the basis of race or gender, even though your intentions might be right.
3. Reflect on Your Actions
Many well-intentioned teachers sometimes act on their implicit biases without even realizing it. These biases can stem from years of living and growing up in a prejudiced society. It is not easy to shed the values you adopted over the years without a thorough awareness.
Many studies attest that colored students feel less included in the classroom and female students receive less attention from their teachers than their male peers. The teacher may not be excluding them intentionally but out of ingrained habits. The best way to overcome such slights is to stand back and reflect on your actions. Assess where you stand, what you say, and how you act.
Be mindful of your actions while you are teaching. Don’t use or condone the use of phrases such as ‘boys don’t cry’ that might reflect stereotypical attitudes toward gender or cultural norms.
4. Use Inclusive Course Material
Some texts used in the classroom may contain misogynistic and racist undertones. Even if they are not explicitly visible, they can still create unfavorable perceptions in a child’s mind. Therefore, you should curate your study material carefully and eliminate any resource material that doesn’t hold well against the principles of equality, tolerance, and inclusion.
Look for reading material that does not include gender stereotypes and actively promotes equality and diversity instead.
If you expose your students to progressive gender ideas, they will not think of certain professions as rigidly aligned to specific genders. They should read about female entrepreneurs and leaders and male nurses and teachers.
5. Diversify Student Groups
Group your students in a way that they get to interact with children who may look different from them, whether because of their gender or race. Let your class be an assortment of color, race, and gender without any visible division or segregation between them.
When you separate children based on their visible differences, they grow up to become prejudiced. Therefore, adopt a dynamic seating arrangement to encourage all students to interact irrespective of their skin color and gender.
6. Address Disrespectful Student Behavior
Students are impressionable, and you have to make an effort to change their behaviors. Besides, the classroom isn’t the only place where students get their values from. They adopt many views and behavior patterns from the people around them, especially their own family members.
If a student in your class disrespects another on the basis of his/her skin or gender, you should have a talk with that student with a view to influencing a change in behavior. Many people grow up to be racists and misogynists only because their past behaviors weren’t discouraged by someone in their family. Hence, it is your responsibility to teach your students to differentiate between right and wrong kinds of behavior.
Do not hesitate to call your students out on their prejudices. Children do not think for themselves when they are young; they only adopt what they observe. Therefore, be a positive influence in their lives and encourage them to respect everyone. If you see them utter a racist remark or bully someone, make them see the errors in their actions and words.
If guiding them does not help, take disciplinary action. Children need to understand that their actions can have consequences, and they have to own them.
Inequality is a prevalent issue in society, and a classroom is an ideal place where tolerance for different opinions, skin colors, and cultures has to be developed. By following the suggestions mentioned above, you will be at least able to make your classroom a place of fairness, equality, and tolerance.