As educators, we are constantly striving to engage our students in their learning. We know that students are more engaged academically and have improved social and emotional outcomes when they see and hear themselves reflected in the classroom environment and instruction. So, we make our lessons into games, we build positive-incentive systems, and we let our students take the lead in classroom procedures. While these help, they are not enough. Too often, we miss asking ourselves a more critical question: Is this what my students need to be learning? Should my students be engaged in this content?
Many popular, tried-and-true curricula lack diversity in their representation of students, families, and communities with varied and authentic identities as compared with the students sitting in our classrooms. When we use the same curricula that we have for years without questioning the extent to which they reflect our specific students’ identities, we’re not only failing to maximally engage our students in content—we are actively teaching our students that their identities are less valuable than others. Thus, in order to provide all students with equitable learning experiences, we must intentionally critique and, when necessary, reject using curricula in which our students’ identities are not represented. The representation within the pedagogy that we put in front of our students holds power even when we are unaware of it.
Equitable Education Alliance (EEA) is a community of practice for organizations; ministries, agencies and NGO’s who strives to push for a more inclusive and equitable educational system while enhancing the performance of existing equitable education organizations at all levels
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