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0.503x

Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practices

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This course is currently available on edX. Certificate enrollment is open.

About This Course

Every day, teachers make thousands of decisions: what content to teach, what activities to assign, who to call on, how to respond to a student question, how to react to student behavior. These day-to-day decisions can have an enormous effect on the lives of young people, for good and ill. They can open new doors or cause lasting harm; they can make students feel seen and valued, or dampen their interest in school. In this course, we will investigate these interactions, rehearse responding to difficult scenarios, and develop a set of equity teaching mindsets and practices to support all of our learners, especially underserved students.

With colleagues from your school or organization and online learners around the world, you will participate in four cycles of inquiry, practice, and action, and then complete a final action project. In each cycle of inquiry, you will examine and re-examine dimensions of inequality through educator mindsets, imagine community change through documentary case studies, rehearse taking action in thorny situations through digital practice spaces, and begin to lead change through action-oriented assignments. Our early investigations will focus on relationships and interactions with individual students, and pan out to examine the effects of bias on classrooms, schools, and communities. As you complete activities with peers online, you will develop a rich set of resources and exercises to use with your students and colleagues in your local context.

At the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of yourself and your students, new resources to draw on for helping all students thrive, and a plan to work with your school community to advance the lifelong work of equitable teaching.

We believe that the most rich and rewarding experience in this course is to take it with colleagues, and we encourage you to reach out to a small group who might be interested in taking this course with you. These fellow-learners will understand your context, the students that are in your school, and the culture of the place that you're working with. Even one or two peers can be the start of an equity change cohort in your school or organization.

Requirements

None

What you'll learn

Educators--from teachers to school leaders to paraprofessionals--will learn about:

  • Educator Mindsets: For seeing bias and equity: Equity vs. Equality; Aware vs. Avoidant; Asset vs. Deficit; Context-Centered vs. Context-Neutral.
  • Equity Teaching Practices: Teaching dispositions, judgments, and activities that help all students, especially underserved students, to thrive and feel valued.
  • Levels of Change: Addressing inequality through work on the self, the classroom, the school, and society.
  • Practice Spaces: Simulations for low-stakes practice of challenging decisions in teaching.
  • Leading Change: Working with colleagues in the lifelong journey towards more equitable schools.

Syllabus

Unit 0: Mindsets and Practices for Equity Teaching
Introduction to educator mindsets for seeing sources of bias and inequality, discussing identity and practices for more equitable teaching.

Unit 1: Seeing and Valuing Individuals through an Equity Lens
Developing an imagination for how every individual student can learn and grow.

Unit 2: Seeing and Valuing Students through Asset Framing
Rethinking classroom instruction through asset framing.

Unit 3: Seeing and Valuing Differences through Challenging Conversations
Acknowledging and discussing our differences while connecting to our shared humanity.

Unit 4: Addressing Inequality in a Community Context
Understanding young people in a whole context that acknowledges structural inequality and histories of discrimination.

Unit 5: The Lifelong Work of Equity Teaching
Engaging students and colleagues in the work of equity teaching through mindsets and practice spaces.

License and Terms of Use

This course is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY), which permits you to freely download, share, and adapt the material so long as you give appropriate credit.

Course Staff

Justin Reich

Justin Reich

Justin Reich is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Media Studies department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an instructor in the Scheller Teacher Education Program, and the director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab. He is the co-founder of EdTechTeacher, a professional learning consultancy devoted to helping teachers leverage technology to create student-centered, inquiry-based learning environments. He was previously the Richard L. Menschel HarvardX Research Fellow, where he led the initiative to study large-scale open online learning through the HarvardX Initiative, and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Justin is an alumni of the Fellows program at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University, where he created the Distributed Collaborative Learning Communities project, a Hewlett Foundation funded initiative to examine how social media are used in K-12 classrooms. He writes the EdTechResearcher blog for Education Week, and his writings have appeared in Science, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Educational Researcher, the Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, the Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

H. Richard Milner IV

H. Richard Milner IV

H. Richard Milner IV is Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. He has secondary appointments in Peabody’s Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations and the Department of Sociology in Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science. Milner is a researcher, scholar and leader of urban education and teacher education. Centering on equity and diversity, he has spent hundreds of hours observing teachers’ practices and interviewing educators and students in urban schools about micro-level policies that shape students’ opportunities to learn. He examines the social context of classrooms, schools, and communities and looks at ways in which teachers’ talk (particularly about race) influences student learning, identity and development. His research in urban schools and his book, “Start Where You are, But Don’t Stay There,” (Harvard Education Press, 2020) has influenced designs and practices of teacher education courses and programs. To improve relational, curricular, assessment and instructional practices, school districts across the United States and beyond draw on his recommendations to support students of color, those who live below the poverty line, and those whose first language is not English.

  1. Course Number:

    0.503x
  2. Classes Start:

  3. Classes End:

  4. Estimated Effort:

    2–4 hours
  5. Length:

    10 weeks
  6. Year Created:

    2020
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