Closing the Engagement Gap: A Social Justice Imperative

Center for Inspired Teaching is proud to announce the release of a new white paper titled Closing the Engagement Gap: A Social Justice Imperative. This work, which both affirms the benefits of engagement-based education and confirms the reality of the current “engagement gap” in this country, reflects our long-held belief that how we teach students is a critical piece of educational equity. Indeed, pedagogy is at least as important as policy, access, discipline, and other issues commonly associated with equity.

While engagement-based education is not yet the norm in the United States, it’s far more likely that white, wealthy students will have access to it, while low- and middle-income students and students of color remain more likely to be educated in classrooms and schools with traditional, prescriptive, less engaging models. A review of the research suggests that engagement-based education is particularly beneficial for students from underserved groups, which makes it especially urgent to expand teaching and learning opportunities that will engage these populations.

Educators nationwide are starting to recognize that our schools must rethink education itself in order to promote equity. Closing the Engagement Gap gathers the research that we hope will shift this focus toward pedagogy. Our white paper provides and expands upon the following recommendations:

1) Build strong relationships through an asset-based approach to working with students.
2) Honor and center students’ funds of knowledge and ways of knowing.
3) Engage students with learning experiences that are meaningful to them, that are relevant to their lives, and that bring them joy.

In addition to identifying the urgent need to close the engagement gap in education, Inspired Teaching also offers resources that educators can use to begin implementing the recommendations.

Our intent in creating this white paper has been to share it with all education stakeholders. We invite you to download and read Closing the Engagement Gap — and we encourage you to let us know what you think. Click on the image below to read the report.

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