Equal vs. Equitable Treatment

EqualityVsEquity

http://secondlineblog.org/2016/11/the-elusive-pursuit-of-equity/

I love this variation on a widely-circulated image illustrating the difference between equality and equity. It explicitly acknowledges the presence and value and needs of people (i.e. students) with disabilities different abilities.

In several of my classes today I had to decide how to deal both equally and equitably with the content I had to cover and the behavior problems involving only a few students. I decided to treat all classes equally by setting out a standard for behavior and consequences. But I also equitably differentiated the treatment of Act I of Macbeth in my classes to support and to challenge my students. Let me tell you, it’s hard!

Teaching is truly more an art than a science. That’s the problem with a scripted curriculum that forces teachers to be lockstep with one another. Different classes are just different, and that applies to individuals as well.

On the other hand, (I’m a Libra, remember?) all students deserve equal access to the content and equal energy from their teachers to support equal opportunities to learn. No student should be deprived, for example, exposure to Macbeth if that’s the agreed-upon curriculum. Still, not every student needs to parse EVERY line to acquire the skill of paraphrasing Shakespeare’s language; nor does every student need to explore EVERY contemporary connection to the themes.

Achieving that balance (and I believe I accomplished it for at least today) takes understanding of one’s students, the content, and one’s own limitations. My head hurts and I’m REALLY grateful it’s Friday….

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