EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN CLASSROOMS
Equality and diversity aim to promote and accept the differences between people. Equality is about creating equal opportunities in terms of status and rights. Diversity is recognising and respecting that everybody is different.
Equality in schools
Schools have to provide equal opportunity to students for example; for admission and attendance, teaching and learning, school trips, sports activities, breaks, timetable and progress and discipline. The staff is entitled to equality in terms of recruitment, selection, career progress and dismissal.
Discrimination in relation to sexual orientation, religion, race and age should be monitored and taken into consideration.
The Equality Act 2010
The act imposes a single equality duty on schools and other public bodies to protect the rights of people who hold more than one of the characteristics of the following groups: race, disability, religion, gender etc. The act provides a consolidated source of discrimination law covering all types of discrimination.
Schools must observe non-discriminatory practices including prevention of harassment, admissions and exclusion of students.
Promoting equality and diversity in classrooms
Teacher training should be in place to provide assistance in student development programs. Teacher education programs focus on guidelines towards classroom management rather than individual dealing. Things to consider include:
- Beliefs about diversity shaping instructional behaviours
- Multiple perspectives in learning about diversity
- Multiple techniques to achieve common learning outcomes
- Developing skills to adapt to different cultural systems
With proper guidelines we can create opportunities for students to help change their environment. Schools may modify their teaching practices and encourage classroom participation.
Things to consider in the classroom:
- Using gender neutral and multicultural examples
- Ensuring learning materials such as worksheets, presentations, tests do not discriminate against anyone and are adapted where possible (large print, audio tape format)
- Using a range of teaching and assessment methods to cater to different individual needs
- Avoiding stereotypes in all resources
- Ensuring school policies and procedures do not discriminate against anyone
- Challenging negative and discriminatory attitudes of students and staff
Equality objectives should be kept under review. Develop action plans to achieve desired goals and frequently update teaching practices to get better results.