One Good Thing Won't Make Enough Difference

One good thing won’t make enough difference.

On the interdependence of initiatives for equity in education

  • If I get teachers to understand racism more deeply and commit to ending it but don’t develop culturally responsive teaching and skillful teaching, it won’t make enough difference.

  • If I teach a brilliantly culturally responsive lesson to students who think they are too dumb or too far behind to learn, it won’t make enough difference. 

  • If I get students to believe they have the capacity to learn even though they are behind but fail to give them the cognitive tools to learn well and be active agents for their learning, it won’t make enough difference.

  •  If I give students better cognitive skills for being a good student but fail to give them rigorous work, it won’t make enough difference.

  •  If I teach rigorous content without learning to scaffold skillfully, it won’t make enough difference because my students will get discouraged.

  • …and on and on. 

Should we abandon any of the above initiatives? Absolutely not. But we do need to think more deeply about their interconnectedness and develop a long term plan for implementing, sustaining, and connecting each and every one of them.

Jon Saphier is the Founder and CEO of Research For Better Teaching