Equity : Science Education :: Equilibrium : Science

Equity and equality, as terms, are often used interchangeably. Before we proceed, I would like to clarify the differences between the two.

Equality: everybody gets the exact same amount of resources/treatment
Equity: resources/treatment is distributed based on the needs of the recipients.

Please consider the image below:

In this situation, equality fails to address the biggest issue that inhibits everyone from enjoying the baseball game since it falls under the assumption that everyone will be able to benefit from the same amount of support. A system of equity allows everyone access to the same opportunities.

What is the status of women and minorities in STEM?

Although we as a society have improved our overall outlook towards women and minorities, certain social constructs, socioeconomic issues, and stigmas still maintain a strong influence towards dissuading women and minorities from the STEM field.

This data shows us that a there is a staggering amount of white men that hold science and engineering occupations vs women and minorities.

How would we go about encouraging women, individuals with disabilities, and minorities to pursue a career/education in STEM?

  • Promote gender equity at an early age. Allow both boys and girls of all ethnic groups to utilize their innate creativity and foster their appreciation for the sciences.
  • Make an effort to foster their self-efficacy in science. Boosting a their self confidence towards their competency of science at a young age will go a long way towards convincing them to develop their passions in STEM.
  • Increase their exposure/awareness to women, individuals will disabilities, and minorities that hold prominent roles in the STEM field. Modern media is doing a decent job increasing their inclusivity in leading movie roles, inspiring millions. If we want to inspire future women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities to become scientists, engineers, doctors, etc., we must put in the same, if not greater, effort to inspire inclusiveness in STEM.
In this video, Dr. Imogen Coe does a fantastic job addressing why we see a lack of women in the STEM field and empowers them to challenge stereotypes and pursue their passions for science using real life examples and witty humor.

How you can foster equity and a passion for STEM in your classrooms

Teachers need to be aware of their influence on their students. In my future classroom, I promise to foster equity and a passion for STEM by:

  • Focusing my pedagogy around student-centered learning through inquiry, utilizing open-ended problems, and hands-on collaborative work that reflects how science is practiced throughout the professional community.
  • Fostering and maintaining an environment where diversity is celebrated.
  • Establishing lab groups to consist of different people of all backgrounds and encourage them to work together.
  • Scaffolding my content to include significant women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities in physics/chemistry in my lessons.
It may be daunting for one teacher to solve the issues of inclusivity alone, but science has always advanced under the sum of each scientist. We must tackle these same issues with that exact same strategy.
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3 Responses to Equity : Science Education :: Equilibrium : Science

  1. curtisrc says:

    Jay,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I think it awesome how you value student confidence towards their scientific competency and how you will ensure students develop their confidences to make STEM for accessible for all. What is a way(s) that you will seek to spark or heighten confidence towards science within your students in the future? Also, I would agree with you that there is increasing diversity in media representation, however, even if there is the element of representation, there is not always the element of inclusiveness. I think it is so important as educators, that we seek to ensure all perspectives are welcomed and respected. Thanks, Jay! P.S I love the hashtag in your tweet #equilibriumIRL 🙂

  2. Evan says:

    Jay,
    Awesome post! I like the ideas you talk about how you’re going to foster a passion for STEM in your classroom. One thing that I’ve heard (but I’m not sure where) is that sometimes if you have a heterogeneous group, say of males and females, the males tend to be the ones who do the experiment and the females tend to take the notes and write down the numbers. Because of that, it may actually be more beneficial to have a group of all females for example. I’m not too sure and this definitely requires more research on our part as teachers but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. I also love your #equilibriumIRL hashtag.

  3. Lauren Colliver says:

    Hi Jay,
    Great post about equity in STEM! I liked that you differentiated equality and equity right from the beginning, which is useful because many students (and people in general) may not realize the difference. You also mentioned that increasing exposure/awareness and scaffolding content to include women and minorities in STEM – what might be an example of how you would specifically do this in your future classroom?

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