Please support our mission to connect and share information with educators around the world. Donate here!

Equity and inclusivity in STEM

Equity and inclusivity in STEM

Becky Schnekser | @schnekser
March 12,  2021
Perspectives

Friday was epic for so many reasons. It was Day 1 for the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Annual Professional Development Institute and I had the privilege of hearing about great topics in science education, and even presented three times, myself.The last session of the day was where the magic happened and I am incredibly grateful to have attended a session on equity and inclusivity in STEM. The focus was on African American culture, providing insight into struggles, realities, and ways to actively engage this underserved population. The presenter was a beautiful human being whose knowledge, positivity and passion radiated from her soul to the audience. It was a beautiful fifty minutes filled with understanding, compassion, and shared motivation to reach all students, especially African Americans, through purposeful changes in instruction and relationship building.

Over and over, Dr. Angerina Jones reiterated that the strategies shared are for ALL students but important for all educators to understand that these are what are best for underserved populations.

The last session of the day was where the magic happened and I am incredibly grateful to have attended a session on equity and inclusivity in STEM.
The last session of the day was where the magic happened and I am incredibly grateful to have attended a session on equity and inclusivity in STEM.

We spent a lot of time talking about the “much love” section and creating windows and mirrors for students. We should and must have high expectations for all students; in working with and supporting African American students, it is equally important to provide that love. Dr. Jones reiterated again, that is true for all students, but this population of African Americans — it’s an imperative part of the puzzle that we cannot deny. One participant added that school is often the only place where African American students might have the opportunity to be heard and listened to. This does not mean they are not loved and supported at home, but often do not feel or have time to be heard, to share, and spend time in conversation.

With this graphic, a lot of attention was spent on how to engage African American learners — they are movers, shakers, often music driven. Dr. Jones even gave the example of “hips and lips” lines in the hallway (the expectation that you are perfectly still and quiet and you walk through a hallway) is completely unreasonable for students, especially African American boys who are “beat bopping” around with rhythm in their souls. She questioned why it matters whether a student (especially African American male) sits or stands to complete tasks…again — true for any student. We need to question why we have an enforce certain rules if they are not conducive to learners.

We spent a lot of time talking about the “much love” section and creating windows and mirrors for students.
We spent a lot of time talking about the “much love” section and creating windows and mirrors for students.

The graphic (below) was incredibly important in thinking about the mirrors and windows we have for students, especially underserved populations. What mirrors (reflections of themselves, or those who look like them) do we have in the building, in literature, in positions of importance?

This graphic speaks volumes about mirrors in literature…

With this graphic, a lot of attention was spent on how to engage African American learners — they are movers, shakers, often music driven.
With this graphic, a lot of attention was spent on how to engage African American learners — they are movers, shakers, often music driven.

How can we as educators do a better job providing opportunities, windows, and mirrors for students of all races, cultures, genders, backgrounds

How do we best support these students?

How are we doing with that kind of support for students and families?

Are we filling their buckets or leaving them empty-handed and hearted?

There are so many questions, so many things upon which I need to reflect and I am incredibly grateful for this session — I have some work to do…what about you?

I have written and continually edit the experiential science curriculum for PreK-grade 5. I create a hands-on, enthusiastic lab and field environment for students, promoting authentic experiences in the world of science. I bring students in to field science experiences and field science experiences to the laboratory. I have taught in a self-contained 5th-grade classroom with special education inclusion setting as well as general education settings all within the public school system. I have served as the Lead Science Teacher and primary educational grant writer for science instruction. I have conducted many professional development classes on instructional technology, classroom management, and cross-curricular teaching strategies.

: expeditionschnekser.com

Article Keywords
print article
Read More Articles

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up to stay informed about the latest articles, forum posts, and school news from SchoolRubric.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Powered by EmailOctopus
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x