Equity in the Classroom: 20 Ways to Strive for Inclusivity and Accessibility

Katherine Bazley



Source: Equity Tool


Equity is a complex and layered topic. It is not necessarily achieved and it’s not a destination; rather, it’s a series of supports and processes that contribute to an inclusive experience for all students. It intersects with countless social, economic, and political issues. It involves race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, household income, religion, geographic location, family relationships, immigration status, language, school funding, special education, teacher preparation, political views, and more. As equity involves so many concerns, it is challenging for educators to ensure that all students are experiencing school in an equitable way.


One reason that equity is a process rather than a destination is that sometimes factors contributing to an inequitable experience are not known by teachers or schools. For instance, a student living in an abusive home might come to school seeming fine. However, they might be distracted by fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression. If the teacher is unaware of what is going on at home, addressing the student’s internal issues is nearly impossible.


As a teacher, it would be unthinkable to know everything about your students that contributes to an inequitable classroom. Check out Magma’s checklist for ensuring that you are doing everything you can to strive for equity:


Model Equity

You are the adult in the room. You are the model for your students and they will follow your lead. Here are some examples of how to model equity:


  • Respect all students’ opinions, even when you personally disagree

  • Appreciate every student’s responses, even when they are wrong

  • Use language that employs respect and empathy

  • Explain why you make certain decisions

  • Be flexible when things don’t follow the plan


Examine your Materials

Are your materials accessible for every student? Are some students at a disadvantage when you distribute digital materials? Are your materials appropriate for every learner’s abilities? When reflecting on the equity of your materials, look for:


  • Representation from all races, ethnicities, and religions in written material, images, and videos

  • Multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression (Universal Design for Learning)

  • Assessments that measure learning, and not access to classroom materials

  • Tiered levels of difficulty for every level of ability

  • Opportunities to personalize learning


Examine your Methods

Your teaching practice greatly affects the level of equity in your classroom. Even if your materials are accessible for all students, the methods you employ when teaching can either bolster or undermine equity. Make sure your methods garner inclusivity. Look for these opportunities when teaching:


  • Give students a voice when making decisions and creating classroom policies

  • Be mindful of how and when you use technology

  • Use a variety of assessment strategies to strengthen and enrich your data

  • Talk to colleagues about how their methods promote equity

  • Use formative assessments to determine if a certain population of students is lagging behind others


Have the Hard Conversation

Teachers and students alike will undoubtedly make mistakes by saying or doing things that steer away from equity in the classroom. When mistakes are made, lessons can be learned. Lessons can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, but as the teacher, you are responsible for having difficult conversations in order to maintain an equitable environment for everyone. You might need to address these with your students:


  • Biases against certain racial, ethnic, or religious groups

  • Gender identity and sexual orientation should be respected and valued

  • Language can be degrading and offensive to certain groups and individuals

  • Making assumptions about cultural differences can often lead to misunderstandings and prejudice

  • Culture is personal, and it is important to respect everyone’s backgrounds

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Want to learn more about how to strive for an equitable classroom? Check out these resources!




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