This post was written by NCTE member Dianna Minor.
Teachers should provide equitable learning experiences for all students. This means the implementation of classroom practices that include building relationships with students that foster community, as well as providing opportunities that level the playing field so all students have equal access in the learning process to become critical thinkers.
It has always been my goal to provide instructional practices that reflect best practices that engage all learners. The key aspect of every lesson is engagement.
I strategically integrate a range of strategies to eliminate “dead time” and carefully craft activities that tap into various learning styles and multiple intelligences to engage all learners. Equitable classrooms reflect inclusivity and culturally responsive teaching practices that build unique experiences for all students.
Instructional Practices and Strategies
“Cultural responsiveness is not a practice; it’s what informs our practice so that we can make better teaching choices for eliciting, engaging, motivating, supporting, and expanding the intellectual capacity of ALL our students” (Hammond, 2014). It is my goal to build pathways in my classroom to make learning accessible for my students. I have always seen differentiation as an avenue to provide equity to all my students. I am able to respond to my students’ needs, guided by a variety of classroom practices that include but are not limited to flexible grouping, ongoing assessment and adjustment, and/or respectful tasks in accordance to student’s readiness, interests, and learning profiles.
With all lessons, I look at the content (what I am teaching), process (how I am going to deliver the lesson via skills to my students), and product (what I want them to produce to show mastery) (Tomlinson 2017). I believe these are important ingredients to ensure equity and inclusivity.
Equitable classroom practices involve the following:
- creating specialized differences in curricular experiences,
- creating multiple options for knowledge acquisition, sense making, and product creation, and
- providing different work, not more of the same.
There are many instructional strategies that support equitable classroom practices in the classroom. Getting to know students via learning styles and student surveys provides rich background information on how students learn. Integrating student response systems into instruction such as Kahoot, Padlet, and Exit Slips provides avenues for students to collaborate in environments which boost learning and engagement in addition to providing equitable participation.
Also, tiering lessons and student products allows different pathways for students to gain an understanding. I believe all students can flourish in collaborative, differentiated learning environments. Equitable teaching provides allows me to create learning environments that fully embrace classroom diversity and a multitude of learners.
Dianna Minor is an educator, writer, and consultant. Her professional experience includes literacy and curriculum and instruction. Twitter: @diminor1
It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.