What is it like to teach in today's secondary and post-secondary classrooms in our increasingly globalised and international world where students come from all over the place, and the continuity of education from early grades to higher education is no longer a given? What strategies can we as educators employ? I've been thinking long and hard about issues of diversity, equity, and multiculturalism for many years as both a scholar and an educator, and equity is something I don't take lightly. Here are some of my thoughts about how to integrate a commitment to equity and diversity into meaningful teaching practice...
Before getting into the world of EduTech, I was a more straightforward English educator. I taught high school English and then went on to become a literature professor. My approach to literary study, however, has always foregrounded empowerment and equity. While researching and writing about postcolonialism and identity politics in contemporary literature, I gave myself a sound theoretical and scholarly foundation in these ideas, but it was when I stood in front of classes of real live students that the theory was put into practice.
It's one thing to write about marginalization, it is another thing to stand in front of a room of bright-eyed, keen, and amazing students and know that they're not all starting from an equal start line.
My Team EssayJack colleague, Dr. Anthony Cantor wrote a blog post about accessiblity and equality, addressing some of these ideas (and I recommend you check it out), and I have a few more things that I want to add here to this conversation about diversity in the classroom from my own experience.
The needs of students in today's diverse classes is different than the needs of students a generation ago. And since we are teaching today, not a generation ago, it behooves us to teach to today's diverse classes.
Okay, great, that all sounds good, but what does that actually mean? It means many different things in many different classes, but here are some strategies that you can employ:
I left the full-time English classroom and devoted my time to creating EssayJack, not because I had lost my love of teaching, but rather because I love teaching. I love teaching students and seeing them reach their potential and exceed what they thought possible. I love challenging them and seeing them rise to the challenge.
But in a diverse class and diverse world, students who are already disadvantaged can find it hard in a 12-week semester to overcome their deficits to achieve their fullest potential. EssayJack is my attempt - and its only one of many great tools out there - hoping to get as many students in all kinds of diverse classrooms to the same starting point.
Because, after all, a diverse learning environment is a better one for everyone, and research suggests that "racial and ethnic diversity matter for learning, the core purpose of a university," and increasing diversity is a way "to promote sharper thinking for everyone."
#ESL #ELL #EFL #ELT #education #edutech #writing #essays #diversity #equity
EssayJack is an interactive web platform with a patented solution that pre-structures student essays, reduces writing anxiety, and allows educator customization and feedback. Ranked as one of the top English Language teaching digital innovations in the world by the British Council and Cambridge English, EssayJack was created by award-winning educators and can be customized for almost any writing task.