Written by: Reagan Flowers, Ph.D.
Feeling able to accomplish a skill begins with confidence. When it comes to STEM education, that confidence starts with inclusivity. According to a new North Carolina State University study, creating a sense of belonging in classrooms helps students feel more capable of working on STEM subjects outside of school.
What Inclusivity Looks Like
The study looked at how much students feel a classroom welcomes different genders and ethnic groups. In addition, researchers conducted in-depth surveys with hundreds of high school students from various ethnicities.
Students provided input on whether they felt included and fairly treated in their STEM classes. All genders and races showed higher reports of unfair treatment the further along they were in school. As a result, many of these students reported avoiding engagement in their STEM classes. Conversely, the engagement was much higher in classes students felt were inclusive.
What Hinders Inclusivity
One of the most significant driving factors behind non-inclusive classrooms is unconscious biases. A well-meaning teacher may treat some students unfairly without even realizing it. Therefore, teachers need to recognize their own biases and work to address them. Read more…