5 Steps for Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Learning Communities
Re-Imagining Migration explores and provides five ways to promote a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for students.
By Adam Strom and Verónica Boix-Mansilla
The responses to COVID-19 serve as a reminder that while we are all in this together, we do not all experience the world in the same way. The disproportionate impacts of the virus on communities of color, older people, and those with particular medical vulnerabilities are stark reminders that while many aspire to treat everyone equally, the world does not work that way. Ironically, and maybe obviously, equitable treatment requires that we recognize the differences between us and respond to people recognizing their particular needs, strengths and vulnerabilities. Good educators already know this. It isn’t fair to treat all students the same. All learners come into the classroom with their own identities, needs and assets; thoughtful assessment helps us target our teaching for the learners in our care.
At the same time, COVID-19 has exposed fault lines that threaten our communities. Frustration, fear and anxiety have led to scapegoating, hate and violence targeting Asians; it has resurrected long-standing conspiracies and served as a platform for new ones. As we plan for the next school year, we must keep in mind what we have learned. As with the pandemic, responding is not good enough, we need to be prepared, and we need to prepare the rising generation to understand how to create the conditions that all of us need to thrive.
Our team, including Carola Suarez-Orozco and Juliana Karras-Jean Gilles, would like to offer five steps for creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment as well as tangible actions we can all take to make these aspirations a reality.
How do you create welcoming and inclusive learning communities for ALL of your students? On our new infographic, we suggest 5 steps with tangible actions we can take to make those aspirations a reality. @afstrom @VBoixMansilla pic.twitter.com/behN6ekFoL
— Re-imagining Migration (@reimaginemigrat) May 20, 2020
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If you have additional ideas on building an inclusive learning environment at school and online, please comment below.
For additional content, you may want to check out these two blogs:
Adam Strom is the director of Re-Imagining Migration. Throughout his career, Strom has connected the academy to classrooms and the community by using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world. Before helping to found Re-imagining Migration, he was the director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves where the educational resources produced under his direction were used in thousands of classrooms around the world.
Verónica Boix-Mansilla is the research director of Re-imagining Migration and senior principal investigator at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research examines the conditions that enable individuals to understand and act with others on the most pressing issues of our times (migration and globalization) through high-quality disciplinary and interdisciplinary work in formal and informal educational settings. At Re-imagining Migration, she is co-developing a research-based comprehensive framework for quality education of immigrant-origin youth and their peers. She co-developed the OECD Global Competence Framework in 2018 and has published multiple papers and books, including Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World (2011) with Tony Jackson.
Re-imagining Migration'smissionis to advance the education and well-being of immigrant-origin youth, decrease bias and hatred against young people of diverse origins, and help rising generations develop the critical understanding and empathy necessary to build and sustain welcoming and inclusive com