Teaching to include all learners, with a view to engaging diversity and promoting equity, is crucial to prepare civically engaged adults for the workplace and create a society that acknowledges the contributions of all its members.

Re-evaluating Teaching Materials

Considering the voices that are speaking in lessons via teaching resources is important to ensure a diverse and inclusive learning environment. In the subjects of social sciences and humanities especially, teaching materials tend to incorporate a narrative based around being white, male, middle-class and Western.

To ensure the inclusion of a wide range of voices, school heads are advised to work with their teachers to teach, for example, literature by authors of colour. It’s also helpful to assess historical narratives to identify voices that are missing.

Getting to Know the Students

Experts in the field of education such as Sir Peter Birkett understand that recognizing every student in the classroom as a unique individual is vital in promoting inclusion and diversity in the learning environment. To this end, it’s a good idea to find out where each student comes from and the socio-economic circumstances they live in. It’s also important to find out whether they get on with their peers and whether they’re meeting standards of academic achievement or are struggling.

Getting to know each student and gaining an insight into their strengths and weaknesses can help to create a secure and safe educational culture.

Addressing Inequality

Making diversity a regular part of classroom discussions means that both students and teachers will be more willing to address incidences of inequality. Teachers are in a position to both lead these discussions and inspire positive action. As well as discussion, practical steps should be taken to address inequality when it’s found. This could include an immediate response to inappropriate actions or comments and modelling acceptance and inclusion.

It’s also important to always use language that doesn’t reinforce stereotypes and promotes positivity. The phrase ‘boys will be boys’ for example should not be used to justify aggression or sexism.

Connecting with Families and the Community

As an important part of their community, schools should reflect and celebrate diversity. Hosting a community food drive, starting a newsletter, or hosting a parent or family night are just a few examples of how to go about connecting with families and the wider community.

Take a look at the embedded PDF for more information about why it’s so important to support diversity in the classroom.