Building Unbiased Learning Environment What You Need to Know

Challenges Creating Unbiased Environment

The key to overcome barriers in building an unbiased learning environment is to understand some equity vulnerabilities that may be present for some students.

According to the article Equity in Education Understanding Equity in the Classroom“, understanding the barriers to equity in education helps educators detect and overcome them. The article mentions some equity vulnerabilities that may be present for some students:

  • Learning to speak, read, or write in English 
  • Being unhoused or housed in a shelter 
  • Experiencing child abuse and neglect 
  • Lacking adequate food and healthcare 
  • Experiencing learning or intellectual disabilities, visual or hearing loss 
  • Living with poverty at the household or community level 

This is what the Founder and Director of Confianza, Sarah B. Ottow, strives to “intentionally centering those who have been historically on the margins in our learning spaces, including all families and caregivers.”. In her book, Language Lens, Ottow finds “leaving educators on their own to inadequately meet the needs of increasingly diverse student populations in their classroom isn’t equitable.” She aims to offer a support system for educators dealing with multilingual populations using Language Lens. I support and believe in what she is doing by being a contributor at Confianza.

I want to create student experiences that yield positive results. It means equity is a process and outcome, according to the BELE network. How you engage in the process is as important as the changes you decide to make. This is my goal, and it matches BELE’s Equitable Learning Environment goal:

Equitable Learning Environments are designed so that every student experiences:

  • An engaging, intellectually rigorous learning environment
  • Physical, emotional, and psychological safety
  • Meaningful and relevant work and classroom discourse
  • Their cultural, spiritual, and/or ethnic values and practices are acknowledged, honored, and respected
  • Feeling seen, respected, and cared for by adults and peers
  • Opportunities to set and meet goals, and to learn and recover from failure

Equitable Learning Environments result in the following student outcomes:

  • Intellectual curiosity and strong academic skills
  • A sense of agency and optimism for the future
  • Self-love, self-acceptance, and pride in one’s multiple identities
  • Understanding of one’s own and others’ cultural histories and contributions
  • Empathy for and meaningful connections with others

The BELE Framework has CORE PRACTICES & POLICIES, and they are:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • School Wide Systems and Structures
  • Family, Caregiver, and Community Partnerships
  • District and State Policies

I am focused on Teaching and Learning, because educators do most of the heavy lifting in this area.

BELE Framework provides Learning Context and Conditions for Teaching and Learning. They are commitments:

  • Systematically gather and value students’ feedback on and input into their learning experiences in school.
  • Provide frequent formative growth-oriented feedback that affirms high academic expectations and support for all students
  • Facilitate community building, routines, and rituals that reduce stress, address trauma, promote healing and belonging, and prepare the brain for learning.
  • Nurture student agency, self-directed learning, and critical consciousness.
  • Represent, affirm and support students to explore their personal, cultural, racial, and academic identities, and proactively dispel stereotypes.

You can read The BELE Framework: A Guide to Building Equitable Learning Environments for more information.

What are Learning Conditions?

In Centering Student Experience, learning conditions are experiences in the classroom that support or hinder a student’s ability to learn. Examples of positive learning conditions are a strong sense of community in the classroom and schools, school work that feels relevant and meaningful, growth-oriented feedback and caring teachers. Here are three key insights that can guide your work in supporting every student to thrive:

  • Student experience matters, is measurable, and directly contributes to academic success and well-being of young people.
  • When educators and leaders participate in repeated improvement cycles, they transform how students experience school and improve student outcomes.
  • When educators, students, parents, and community members recognize each other as partners and collaborate to change policies and practices, the student experience improves.
Learning Conditions Key Insights Info Garphic

Addressing Core Practices

Teaching and Learning Core Practices Image

This is where I will fill gaps for the Empower Student Ownership of Learning in Classroom site.

Student Sense of Belonging Image

Student Sense of Belonging Strategies

Student Voice and Equity

What is Meta Level Reflection Image

What is Meta Level Reflection? Why is it Important?

Coming Soon

Metacognition