September is here, and school is starting. This year, determine that all your students will be able to learn in a supportive, inclusive environment. There are a few simple things to keep in mind while you are planning for the new year that will make this goal attainable.
- Students bring their experiences and prior learning with them into your classroom. They haven’t lived in a vacuum and they have a frame of reference that will either help or hinder their learning. It’s important to make sure that they are received in such a way that learning—positive learning—takes place. No matter what they’ve learned outside your classroom, inside it they need to know they are accepted.
- What students learn is highly influenced by their motivation. Students that are not motivated do not learn, or at best learn poorly. And a student with low self esteem is a student who will not be motivated to learn. Boosting self-esteem can be as simple as including all students and not leaving any to fend for themselves.
- All students are valuable and worthy. However, do not assume that all students are straight. Your language should use gender-neutral terms so that the LGBT kids in your class do not feel different and left out. Try asking, “Are you seeing anyone these days?” instead of “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”
- LGBT students need adult friends. Be one. Make your classroom a safe place for them to come.
- Don’t let other students use inappropriate language. LGBT kids already feel different, and many won’t come out for fear of being ridiculed or bullied. Don’t let it start in your classroom. Language should never marginalize anyone.
- Learn, and ask your students questions. Get to know them. Ask them about their lives. Not in an intrusive way, but with compassion and caring.
- Be real. The best example you can set for your students is being authentic. Dialog should be safe in your classroom, where students can have meaningful conversations that present questions but don’t judge.
- Be available. Let your students know that you are there with advice and guidance when needed, and a friendly hand to help when asked. Don’t assume your students welcome your interference, but don’t assume they don’t want your help, either. Make your room a place where students can focus on learning and not on their presentation. Sometimes all it takes is a listening ear and a helping hand to make students willing to learn and share.
Take a look at children raised in the LGBT community.
Presented By Growing Generations
Image credits to : David Yu