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5 Strategies for Fostering Diversity, Equity and Belonging in Classrooms

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Jagpreet

19 June, 2024

5 Strategies for Fostering Diversity, Equity and Belonging in Classrooms

“Inclusive education is not a privilege. It is a fundamental human right.” — Ban Ki-moon.

Inclusivity is embracing and celebrating each individual’s uniqueness. It means not distinguishing on the grounds of gender, sex, race, sexuality, disability, etc. It also means making everyone feel respected, valued, and welcome. This may seem like a general norm, but it isn’t; instead, it is still not a common phenomenon to practise inclusivity.

Diversity means the set of traits that makes students or groups of students unique from one another. It can be fostered by welcoming students from different age groups, gender, race, religion, etc. On the other hand, equity includes giving each student the same access and opportunities in an educational institution. Creating an equitable campus means breaking barriers for students and giving them equal footing. And belonging is the correct outcome of Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies. When the uniqueness of students is celebrated and respected, only a student can perform effectively. 

It is pertinent to have effective DEIB strategies as they will help nourish and grow students. 

Understanding the Importance of Inclusivity in Campuses

Educational campuses cater to the needs of varied students. They amalgamate people from different backgrounds, perspectives, ringings and unique personalities. The campus authorities are responsible for making students feel welcomed and respected. All students have equal rights and equal access to opportunities. Students should have a sense of belonging to this interconnected world. Fostering diversity, equity, and belonging is not just important but also a need and necessity. Acknowledgement of the need for inclusivity is just the first step towards creating an equal, and vibrant campus of an institution. 

Strategies for Implementing DEIB Strategies

Talking about DEIB is one thing, but implementing it effectively is another. Building campuses that foster DEIB strategies is exceptionally crucial. Let us talk about some of the strategies for the implementation of DEIB in detail: 

  • Promote Diversity and Representation

    It is crucial to practice what we preach, meaning campuses must actively enrol students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. It is also essential to appoint diverse leaders and decision-making bodies. To promote and celebrate diversity, authorities can conduct courses, programmes and events on the campus. 

  • Cultivating an Inclusive Campus Culture

    While practising inclusivity on campus, the first step is to make sure that it is comfortable for everyone to accept anyone and everyone who is going there. It is essential to cultivate a culture of sympathy and empathy. Using inclusive language means speaking carefully and not alienating people with one’s choice of words. Encourage open communication and create safe spaces for students to discuss sensitive topics. 

  • Enhance the Curriculum

    Integrate diverse perspectives, histories, and experiences into the curriculum across disciplines.Encourage and support faculty in adopting inclusive and culturally responsive teaching practices. Provide opportunities for students to analyse social issues and develop cultural competence critically. 

  • Fostering Active Communication

    Encouraging active communication among groups is crucial for building an inclusive environment. To initiate these collaborations, multicultural events, celebrations, and cultural programs can be held. This will help students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures. 

  • Continuous Evaluation and Feedback

    Gathering regular feedback on the campus environment and initiatives taken to implement DEIB strategies is pertinent. Continuous evaluation will help us understand the areas for improvement and help form and restructure DEIB strategies for better outcomes. 

Conclusion

Creating an inclusive campus requires a lot of hard work. It also requires rebuilding each individual’s mindset by breaking down interpersonal, cultural, and structural barriers. By implementing the strategies discussed above, educational institutions can foster a diverse and equitable environment. This will prepare students for an eclectic, intercultural, and interconnected global world.


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