It is essential to promote equality and diversity whilst ensuring there is no discrimination while teaching as this will encourage an inclusive learning environment and “it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their: sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity” (Department For Education, 2014)
It is important that teachers develop strategies that “both recognises the individuality of learners and also informs ways of planning for learning and teaching that take these individualities into consideration” (Duckworth & Tummons, 2010, p. 21)
Course material must include imagery and content from a wide cross-section of the population, a simple example is to include a wide selection of people’s names when providing examples. It is important to identify diversities during class; these may emerge during induction, such as the student reporting a particular background or a student being unable to read the board sufficiently. It is essential that teachers never make assumptions based on stereotypes, the unique needs of students should be considered with adjustments available to suit those needs. Teachers must be aware of a diverse selection of religions, disabilities and races, and understand how these may affect your class and your students, for example, students unable to attend due to a particular religious holiday.
“Some learners may have issues relating to access or opportunity due to their personal circumstances”, (Gould & Roffey-Barentsen, 2014, p. 19) for this reason it is essential to provide additional support to meet the individual needs of the learners, for example, providing coloured worksheets for a student with dyslexia, but only if they find them easier to read, providing a deaf student with lecturer notes in preparation for the event they miss sections or being prepared to wear a microphone for their benefit. A student with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may benefit from worksheets that implement a chunking technique, whereby the worksheet is divided into smaller sections, or promoting physical activity during breaks.
The essential element of equality and diversity is treating everyone fairly while providing equal opportunities; this “is not the same as everyone needing to be treated the same. Equality recognises the many different needs of people to be able to access the same opportunities.” (Machin, et al., 2016, p. 151)
Department For Education, 2014. The Equality Act 2010 and schools, London: Department For Education.
Duckworth, V. & Tummons, J., 2010. Contemporary Issues in Lifelong Learning.. 1st ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Gould, J. & Roffey-Barentsen, J., 2014. Achieving your diploma in education and training. 1st ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Machin, L., Hindmarch, D., Murray, S. & Richardson, T., 2016. A Complete Guide to the Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training. Second Edition ed. St Albans: Critical Publishing.