By Nancy Bordine | Categories Diversity | Equity | Inclusion | February 18, 2022

If inclusion initiatives increase productivity and innovation in business,

imagine how they could do the same for your classroom/institution.

If inclusion initiatives increase employee satisfaction and retention in business,

imagine how they could increase the attention and literacy of students.

 

Tony Dungy, first Black NFL coach to win a Super Bowl says, “Inclusion initiatives need to have Emotional Intelligence (EI) as part of their foundation.  EI is necessary for all groups to work well together. Self-Awareness and Social-Awareness are key elements of EI.  They allow others to trust that you authentically care about their feelings.”[1]

A vital part of Self-Awareness is acknowledging your own stereotypes and biases.  Consider the ideas you absorbed from family, teachers, religion, and the media that don’t serve you or your students well today.

Noted author and speaker, Valerie Alexander, suggests these methods to practice eliminating biases in your work environment:

 

Tony Dungy also says that another word for Social-Awareness could be ‘empathy’. “Social Awareness/Empathy can be nurtured by investing in listening and learning to understand each individual, so that each employee/student can be comfortable to talk about their true self.”[3]

Being inclusive means challenging your biases and stereotypes, being curious, being humble, being empowering, and valuing the well-being of all.

Terry Boyd PhD., Professor at University of Southern Florida stresses, “Anyone pursuing inclusion initiatives as part of their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts should keep in mind that DE&I is an ongoing journey rather than a sprint, or even a marathon.  DE&I efforts need to be continuous.”[4]  

Where and when could you utilize strategies for Self-Awareness and Social-Awareness to improve your learning environment?

 

  1. Tony Dungy, University of Southern Florida, College of Business on-line course: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, Module 1
  2. Valerie Alexander, USF, College of Business on-line course: DE&I in the Workplace, Module 2
  3. Tony Dungy, SF, College of Business on-line course: DE&I in the Workplace, Module 1
  4. Terry Boyd, PhD., USF, College of Business on-line course: DE&I in the Workplace, Module 4

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By Dr. Kamshia Childs | Categories All | Book Deserts | Curriculum | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Engagement - Community | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Reading | Reading Instruction | Results | October 8, 2021

A literacy environment should be cultivated by its curriculum.  Learning how to read and develop literacy skills is a process that will benefit a child their entire life.  It is the foundation for other subjects, and a manner in which students learn to communicate and learn about their world, near and far.

The process to teach the required skills necessary is complex, and varies depending on the needs of each learner. In my experience, literacy teaching and learning should be a “dream”. A dream in the sense of literacy learning being a priceless gift—and a dream in the sense of having curriculum and teaching practices which address Diversity, Relevance, Engagement, Access, Motivation (D.R.E.A.M.).

D.R.E.A.M. Literacy focuses on practices being implemented into instruction by educators, as well as encourages at-home support and partnerships in using diverse texts, popular culture and technology, and multimodal resources.  D.R.E.A.M. represents several pieces necessary to address and provide quality and equitable literacy instruction for all. When planning literacy lessons, assignments, and making curriculum decisions educators and parents should consider the following elements:

Diversity

Diversity brings about a wide spectrum of issues that educators can be faced with.  Willingness to learn, accept, and apply the culture (VERY IMPORTANT: Culture does not just mean ethnicity or race) of students to instructional practices is key. Here are some ways to address diversity in literacy:

 

Relevance

Students need to know how to apply the knowledge being taught, and how it applies to them.  Students want to feel like they are included and are represented in a learning environment. Students want to know why it’s important, and how it is useful. Students need to know why they are developing literacy skills and where they will encounter them in their future. Making content relevant includes:

 

Engagement

Engagement starts with learning the interests of the students, merged with the academic knowledge needed. Engagement also involves educators utilizing multimodal approaches in their lessons and work with students. Some great multimodal literacy strategies include:

 

Access

Ease of access to resources and empowering parents/guardians to help build literacy skills at home is necessary for growth. Not all students have the opportunity to have access to books in their home. If books and reading are left out of the home environment, is it really that important for a child and their family? Insight on how to continue a child’s learning outside of the classroom doors is crucial.  The following ideas are recommended:

 

Motivation

As far as motivation, our role is to grow our students’ skills and learn what makes them excited to learn—this is very important with students who have so many unique needs that are changing as society changes daily. The main ingredient for motivation in a literacy classroom is choice.

 

In closing, a literacy environment should thrive on partnership between the internal and external learning communities.  Parents and educators are the essential component that provides students the opportunity to see literacy as a tool of advancement and an escape— teamwork makes the “dream” work.

 

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By Dr. Karla Manning | Categories All | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Engagement - Community | Engagement - Family | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Social Emotional Learning | May 21, 2021

Early Childhood Education is a vital foundation for children of tender age. Not only are they introduced to various experiences, but they are also taught how to form and maintain positive social relationships, a sense of belonging, and developing specific skills to reach their full potential.

We see regular acts of racism, sexism, and prejudice being displayed among people of all ages in society. The need for greater diversity, inclusion, and equity is becoming more evident, from videos we see on social media to news headlines.

Raising a tolerant, accepting, fair and empathetic child should start from an early age. Incorporating equity and inclusion into the early childhood curriculum is one of the best ways to do this.

Equity is simply displaying the quality of being fair and impartial. On the other hand, inclusion is incorporating people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.

Educators incorporating equity and inclusion in the classroom will help them to combat prejudice and racial discord by supporting positive behaviors among students, fostering a sense of belonging for all students and their families, and teaching respect for everyone.

How Do Children Benefit from Incorporating Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculum?

The benefits of inclusion and equity are numerous for all children. Schools including these vital lessons into their curriculum can help children to reach their developmental potential. We have compiled a list of some of the many benefits of successfully incorporating inclusion and equity.

 

How Can your School Incorporate Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculums?

It is no secret that children are more comfortable, grounded, and able to learn more when their school, classmates, and instructors respect their diversity.

Strategies that schools can use to successfully incorporate and promote inclusion and equity in early childhood curriculums include:

Use a multi-tiered system of support

Using this strategy involves Collaborating with early childhood special educators and other allied education and health professionals when needed. Facilitate each professional establishing a relationship with each child to maximize potential.

Provide high-quality early childhood learning resources that demonstrate a commitment to equitable outcomes for all children.

Schools can arrange budgets within their means to equitably meet the needs of children and staff. Recognize that high-quality programs will positively reflect the values, beliefs, and practices of specific children, families, and communities.

Develop opportunities for multiple voices with different perspectives to participate in decision-making.

Recognize that unspoken biases have often resulted in limited opportunities for members of marginalized groups.

Prepare current and prospective early childhood educators to provide equitable learning opportunities to all children.

Schools can ensure that educators understand the historical and systemic issues that have created structural inequities in society, including in early childhood education.

Involve children, families, and the community in the design and implementation of learning activities.

Involving children, families, and the community in learning activities will help children to embrace the idea of inclusion and equity. This will also help to build a sense of belonging with those involved.

Introducing and incorporating equity and inclusion into early childhood curriculums will benefit children and the instructors, family, and the wider community. This strategy will also help build a better future where people will practice more accepting and respectful lifestyles.

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