Equality vs Equity
Author: Parvathy E V
The blog talks about why both equality and equity are important in promoting student outcomes and respecting the diversity in a classroom.
“Miss, why are you late for class today? We should come to school on time, right?” a child asked me one morning when I was late for school. “Miss, you are not wearing your mask properly.” The entire class was telling me when my mask got off while talking to them. These were a few instances where I saw my students enjoying equality inside their classrooms. They seem happy to follow the norms when they know that the norms, rewards, and consequences are not just for them but the teachers too. The right to education is fundamental to every child and equality in education is inevitable for them to enjoy the same opportunities and resources to achieve positive educational outcomes. I felt happy when I was able to provide my students with equal support and opportunities and convince them that we are equals in this journey. But, is mere equality sufficient for them to achieve the outcome?
Imagine, I want my children to get a paper star hanging on the top of our blackboard. None of them are tall enough to get there. Maybe I can try providing them with a chair to climb on and get to the star. But again, not all my students are of the same height. Providing them the same chair might not help them all to reach the goal. Here comes a need to consider their differences and provide them with individualized aids to get to the star. This is where the concept of equity comes alive in every classroom.
Equality and equity are often used interchangeably but have sufficient differences. While equality denotes how the students are treated with an equal amount of respect, instructions and opportunities, equity is all about giving them individualized tools they may specifically need to thrive. Now that the ongoing pandemic and the unequal digital divide in the country has widened the learning gap between students, the responsibility of an educator to ensure equity in the classroom has also increased. In my class of 2nd grade students, the learning level ranges from children who find it difficult to recognize English alphabets to children who can easily read complicated words and sentences in English. As a first step towards ensuring equity in the classroom, I was able to introduce differentiated worksheets to my students. The complexity of the worksheets increases from dotted alphabet sheets, 3D alphabet games, picture recognition, word matching and word formation games designed for specific learning levels. The changes are happening very slowly, but as I begin to track the student outcome, I’m able to see progress in them and that’s motivating me to explore more.
About the Author
With a Masters Degree in Criminology, Parvathy is passionate about understanding crime and exploring strategies for crime prevention. For her, education is one good solution to create a crime free society. Apart from that she’s a true explorer who loves to explore new places, people, cultures, books and of course new recipes.