When we talk about student-centered learning and diversity, some people feel left out of the conversation. Frequently, those who feel left out are ones who have gotten through education without much concern. That is, they don’t experience negative stereotyping, or pressures to identify themselves differently, or encouragement to act in a way contrary to their personality. No, they are privileged by their society.
What do we need to do as educators to include all people in diverse student-centered learning? We need to treat all students as humans. When we eliminate stereotype threat, when we encourage students to be the best students they can be, when we help students understand their own values to the class and to academia writ large, then, we help all students become better learners.
It’s what I’d like to think of as human-centered learning, which a colleague (who likes to remain relatively invisible online) used in a comment on an earlier post of mine. All students benefit from encouragement in the classroom, and, as Claude Steele writes in Whistling Vivaldi, it closes the race and gender gaps in the classroom.
And for my classroom, that’s an admirable outcome, where every student has the real opportunity to find success.