We are constantly consuming images, messages, and cultural practices that are rooted in the norms of white supremacy culture. This strategy guides teachers in reflecting on and changing instructional practices that may invisibly reinforce inequitable opportunities for students. Teachers can engage in individual reflections, or coaches can provide feedback, on visible practices that are typically overlooked to support teachers in intentionally choosing equitable instructional practices.
Review the slide deck below for background information about instructional discretion and equity.
Make a list of the groups represented in your classroom. Use the included note catcher to answer these questions:
Does your classroom include students of color, girls, linguistically diverse students, students with special needs, LGBT+ students, or students who belong to other historically and currently marginalized groups?
For each group, brainstorm the "mainstream" views of these students. What are the stereotypes (positive and negative) in our culture for students who identify with these groups?
Start with one classroom routine or procedure. Think about all the decisions you make during that snapshot of class. Use the included note catcher to think through these questions:
How do I communicate with students during this portion of class?
How am I impacting how students see themselves and students who identify differently from themselves?
Do my decisions invisibly reinforce stereotypes, or do they provide students with a counter narrative?
Choose a lesson for action-research. Film the lesson if you can.
After you teach this lesson, ask students to complete a survey about how they felt about themselves and other students during your lesson. You can use the google doc in the resources, or you can create your own.
Before you review the student survey results, reflect on the lesson yourself. Use the note catcher with questions that parallel those from the student survey.
Compare your reflections with the student survey results. Use the reflection process in the included note catcher to think about:
Where are my reflections aligned to student survey results? What actions did I take in those aligned moments? (If you recorded your lesson, it would be helpful to review your footage.)
Where are my reflections not aligned to student survey results? What actions did I take in those unaligned moments? (If you recorded your lesson, it would be helpful to review your footage.)
What are some other possible decisions I might have made in both my aligned and unaligned moments?
After reflecting on your survey results, write 1-2 action steps for your next lesson. Record them in your note catcher and consider giving the student survey again after this lesson to see if you are getting the results you want.
Instructional leaders may want to provide staff with professional development about instructional discretion for equity. Consider adapting the slide deck to include data from your school or information about the opportunity gap in your district. Coaches can reflect with teachers using the note catcher in 1:1 meetings and provide feedback from lesson observations. Teachers can also work with one another in Professional Learning Communities to provide feedback and reflect together.
In developing this strategy, the resources linked below were consulted.