In 2017, 52 percent of all students enrolled in public schools were racially or ethnically diverse. By 2029, this number is projected to be 57 percent. However, in 2012, only 17 percent of the teachers in the US workforce were racially or ethnically diverse.
The question is, how can educators make sure that teaching and learning is effective and equitable for all learners, regardless of their individual backgrounds? And can instructional resources truly be designed for equity?
While the answer to both questions is “yes,” it involves fundamentally rethinking how we shape curriculum, and the problem is that there’s no single checklist or “one-size-fits-all” approach that will work for every district, school, or classroom.
However, there are numerous key characteristics of high-quality, culturally responsive, and sustaining resources that should be present in all instructional materials. Here are five principles that you’ll want to incorporate into your school’s effective and equitable instructional resources:
1. Culturally responsive resources should be authentic. They should represent a culture authentically, with all information and portrayals in the texts and images being accurate and believable. Some resources, for instance, present content through multiple characters, all of which possess different backgrounds and language abilities. These characters live in different parts of the world; have different skills and abilities; and are all emergent bilinguals (each has a home language other than English). The inclusion of these characters was no accident. We know that Emergent Bilinguals, like all students, thrive when they find a personal, emotional connection to the content that they’re learning.