These days, there are a lot of buzzwords like “diversity”, “equity”, and “inclusion” floating around when we talk about STEM fields. But what do these words mean?
- Diversity: the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
- Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial.
- Inclusion: the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.
So, why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important in STEM fields and in STEM education? It’s no secret that STEM fields are white and male dominated. As teachers, and especially exemplary SCIENCE teachers, it is our responsibility to show our students that STEM fields are available for everyone, not just white men.
So, what can we do about it?
Encouraging students to find joy in science, technology, engineering, and math. Showing the countless careers available in STEM and the best ways to reach them! Specifically, show your female students and students of color that STEM is for them too!
Here is a TEDtalk by Keilly Santos about the importance of diversity in STEM.
Showing the joy to be found in STEM fields is very important, but it is not the end of the road. We need to go further than that. We need to consider the deeper reasons minorities are not flocking to STEM…
There are so many barriers keeping minorities out of STEM fields.
- wage gaps
- barriers to education and opportunity
- a lack of role models or representation in the media
A love for science isn’t enough, the culture of STEM careers needs to change. It starts with us!
In our classrooms, as STEM teachers, we need to model how STEM careers should be.
We should be encouraging collaboration, celebrating diversity, modeling equity, and providing inclusion! All of our students should feel welcome in our classrooms. We need to show all of our students that STEM is for them, and also for each and every one of their classmates too.
A great way to do this is to teach about minority scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technicians! These people are so important as role models and to show our students that people like them can and should be in these careers!
When our students tour colleges and eventually apply for jobs, we want them to be able to see people that look like them. Focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion will improve the culture of STEM fields and provide a brighter future for our students.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you learned something that you can implement in the classroom! Remember…STEM is for everyone!!