Knowing how to promote equality in the classroom is necessary for teachers as communities grow and diversify. Not only should teachers work toward making all students comfortable, they should also model appropriate behavior for students to follow. Equality can deal with gender or race issues and, while it can be uncomfortable to address, teachers must promote equality in the classroom for optimal learning.
Establish rules from the beginning that promote equality in the classroom. Clearly post the guidelines and review them with students. Address student behavior that does not respect equality in either a formal class setting or casual discussion.
Set an example with your behavior. Call on all students to show that ideas and answers are welcome from everyone. Weave the message of equality into your classroom decorations. Find posters and expressions that will serve as constant reminders. Build a bulletin board with quotes and art centered on equality in action.
Set the environment with parents as well. Scholastic suggests you ask parents several questions, including how they would like you to recognize their child ethnically, what you can learn about their culture to help be as respectful as possible and what language the family speaks. Encourage parents to provide more information for you as well. Modify lessons to consider other holidays and traditions.
Respond to children when they initiate contact with you in their home language. Also, be accommodating toward parents who speak a different language. Create a system for conversing, perhaps through an online system that translates.
Teach material that shows equality amongst diversity. Discuss the problems with inequality when it comes up in lesson material in literature or history. Focus a lesson plan around the circumstances whenever possible.
Read stories or magazine articles, depending on ages and learning levels, demonstrating equality in local situations. Share this information outside of lessons, perhaps as a downtime activity or wrap-up at the end of the day.
Provide extra opportunities that branch from a class unit. Allow students a creative outlet concerning equality. Once equality becomes a mainstay in all facets of your classroom, students will feel welcome, a sense of belonging, and most importantly, safe so they can learn and be themselves.
Lauralee Moss writes about education, female-oriented subjects and parenting. She writes for Advice for Parenting, Book Rags and other websites. Moss' master's degree research project studied the organizational habits of high schoolers. She is currently developing a new website about switching classrooms and educational theories.