by guest blogger, Shané Beauford – Director of Educational Equity, IDE Corp.

Who is reflected when you skim the walls and displays in your classroom? What stories are reflected when you scan the texts, articles, and pictures in your collection of resources? Is it a singular voice or a diversity of perspectives?

When you see people like yourself positively reflected in literature, accomplishments, and dreams attained, you recognize that all of this is possible for you, too. “Seeing it” makes it a possible reality for you. 

As I reflect on my childhood education experience, I have to ponder hard to recall a time when I saw someone who looked like me accomplishing extraordinary things. My first introduction to Black authors and rich texts was when I took a class in college. Prior to that, seeing women in careers beyond teaching or nursing was rare. Early exposure to the stories of people like oneself, or the absence thereof, shapes young people in what they imagine as being possible. 

During my teaching career, I brought to my class texts from Black authors, even as a math teacher! I love quotes and would showcase quotes from a diversity of voices. The dominant culture should not be the only representation that students see while they are in school. Who is your classroom reflecting? Do you have a collection of ideas, cultures, people, voices, and experiences represented in your curriculum resources and on display? Think beyond the typical figures: who in the community is making a difference? A celebration of diversity in your classroom starts with representation. 

When you look across the current global landscape, there is such a collection of voices sharing their stories and experiences. Take some time to research, reflect, and see what you can include to make your classroom environment more inclusive to multiple exposures. 

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