I recently attended the Unleashing Learning #2 conference organized and hosted by Mount Scopus. This is a conference by educators for educators. I noted that the conference had a different format, no keynote speakers, but these were replaced by a comprehensive variety of workshops and each day commenced and finished with inspirational talks. Was I inspired? Yes!
What can I share here that might spark your curiosity? What hook or new understanding has encouraged further reflection?
One notion, concept, idea that arose from Stephanie Thompson’s workshop was equity. Stephanie demonstrated how she collects data and uses this data to inform the culture of thinking in her classroom.
What is equity in the classroom?
Is it visible?
How does it differ from equality?
How did this concept relate to the other workshops?
Were there links to equity in ‘teacher talk’ during the conference.
Equality is treating all the same. Equity in education is where students are provided with what they need to be successful. What pedagogy has inbuilt equity?
‘Teacher talk’ is where educators learn from each other and not surprisingly equity came up in many of those discussions. One teacher talked about ‘lean in’ assessment… knowing a student, their story, their strengths and struggles. Another talked about being a ‘warm demander’. Having high expectations, differentiating the curriculum and making learning visible. All discussed the importance of planning and providing a program of learning which could be accessed by all learners. A program which allows students to respond using their learning tools and strengths.
Differentiating the curriculum, visible learning and allowing students to engage in learning using their own tools is fundamental to an education which intrinsically values equity. Equity includes the opportunity for students to show their understanding in ways they choose and to explore their interests.