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Support feelings of relatedness and belonging within the classroom community

Belonging Activity 31

Strategies and resources listed throughout this section that draw on equitable teaching frameworks (e.g., culturally responsive pedagogy) include Trust Generators, Serial Testimony, Celebrating Cultural Diversity from NSTA Press, and Zaretta Hammond’s classroom design ideas
Belonging Principles

The strategy above is aligned to the principles in bold.

  • Support safe personal revelation
  • Invite all student perspectives and validate student assets
  • Allow students to express emotions; acknowledge and validate those emotions
  • Dedicate time and resources to students (be available to students)
  • Treat student questions and concerns seriously
  • Treat students with respect and recognize that they have individual needs and lives outside of school that might create barriers for them in school
  • Provide ground rules and expectations for respectful classroom communication
  • Model equality: Communicate that all experience is valuable and that the diversity of ideas and experiences are assets
  • Create activities that help students get to know each other
  • Respect student reluctance to collaborate, but offer support (isolation is not an option).
  • Ask students to bring their personal culture and histories into class activities. Do not tolerate alienation, marginalization, or discrimination.
  • Give all students leadership opportunities, and show that you trust their abilities to lead
  • Embrace shared goals with a teamwork mentality: my success is our success
  • Describe how you identify within the field and what you do to continue learning
  • Explain your attraction to the field, the origins of your interests, and what impacts your engagement in the field can make
  • Identify people from diverse backgrounds across science (and time periods) to whom students might relate
  • Invite students into science by communicating what learning opportunities are available in the community (events, museums, etc.)
Communicate an inclusive view of who belongs in science
  • Learn about students’ self-beliefs related to science, and encourage students to see that everyone has something to contribute because Science needs diverse perspectives and identities (e.g., early seat belts and airbags were less effective for women because they were designed by male engineers with a crash test dummy that was the size of a typical male.)
  • Work to reduce stereotypes about who can "do" science, which may include: Increasing self-awareness of how you communicate with students (e.g. who you call on in class, what type of language you use to describe scientists, how you communicate your values about diversity in science), and Drawing on diverse examples of scientists, and materials to use in class (e.g., include authors and printed class materials that represent diverse backgrounds; depict diversity in materials displayed around class)
  • Evaluate the extent to which your curricular materials and activities promote equity such that all students can feel they belong. Ask yourself “Are certain cultures or perspectives ignored or undermined?”
  • Use culturally responsive methods (e.g., storytelling) to facilitate belonging with peers, with instructor, within science, and as a learning community