Creating Equity for All Students in the Classroom

April 23, 2019
Not all students come from the same background, look the same, or have access to the same resources. Those differences are part of a conversation on how to create opportunities for equal success in education for first-generation, low-income, and students of color that will take place during a two-day workshop hosted by Tulsa Community College.

“This is a conversation about removing barriers to a student’s success, about a better life for all students and a better workforce prepared for tomorrow’s jobs,” said TCC President & CEO Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D. “At TCC, a little more than one third are first-generation students and nearly 40 percent identify as students of color. Too many students don’t complete the journey from admission to graduation because of barriers along the pathway to earning their certificates or degrees.”

Area educators work towards eliminating the achievement gap

The TCC Institute for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26 at the Cox Business Center and features renowned scholars Dr. Niral Shah, Dr. Bryan Brayboy, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Dr. Tara Yosso. The event runs from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with doors opening at 8 a.m., and costs $150 for both days or $100 for one day.

“Culturally responsive pedagogy is not something to be afraid of or intimidated by, but rather an understanding of how awareness and preparedness can make a learning experience positive or negative for students,” said Eunice Tarver, Provost of Northeast Campus Provost and Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion.

The Institute will help educators develop awareness and show how to take what they’ve learned and move from theory to practice. It will demonstrate how to make it actionable to help close the achievement gap in their classrooms.

For example, one topic of discussion includes how to change a course syllabus or lesson plan to be more engaging and inclusive to students and to remove implicit bias, such as language that feels like a contract or communicates a negative expectation. Another topic will explore Shah’s research on equity and implicit bias in STEM education as part of the dialogue about how to “widen the path” for underrepresented students in those fields of study.

Although mathematics is often seen as “neutral” and “race-free,” Shah’s research shows that math classrooms are highly racialized spaces. Through classroom observations and student interviews, he studied how racial narratives (e.g., “Asians are good at math”) affect classroom interaction and serve to position students as more or less capable of learning math. Shah also studied how perceptions of status affect student learning in elementary computer science.

“We would love for parents, business owners and community advocates to attend the workshop and be part of the discussion with educators from across the state,” Tarver said. “Our difficult conversations will include complex questions such as, is urban revitalization without gentrification possible, what happens when free speech means hate speech, and the role of privilege and power in educational outcomes, just to name a few.”

To find more conversations topics or details about the Institute, visit

A grant from The Flint Foundation is helping to support the Institute for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.