A Non-Judgmental Class Room Audit
Without a word, classrooms send messages about what identities are valued and celebrated. In a diverse society many biases, conscious and unconscious exist. If we don’t resist them we support them by our silence. So take a moment to “read” & reflect on the messages your space is sending?
- Who is reflected and validated by seeing a mirror in a poster, a dramatic play item, or a book on the bookshelf and so forth?
- Do those items match the community you serve?
- Does your space showcase the diversity of society at large?
- What windows are you providing that will help your community see and appreciate identities different than their own?
- Whose voices are missing?
- How might you address your non-judgmental observations about this space?
As an example: Here’s a snapshot of my library audit as it stands at this moment. I haven’t finished decorating but I know what posters I own. I have put books on display about the beginning of school but I know what other books I work hard to have in my collection. However, what non-verbal messages I am sending is what counts. I know I value an inclusive world, but do those who walk into my space know that? I find it valuable to reflect on that as I set up my space for the new year.
|Identity Group||Who’s on the Walls/ in materials?||Who’s missing?||Reflections/Notes|
|Ability||Only abled people
On walls – more differently abled people are represented in a scattering of books – El Defo new graphic novel comes to mind
|Non-hearing, blind, wheel-chair bound – basically all categories||While I have some books about this I don’t have enough in the collection – need to make sure I have some images and work on the books – I know some of the books exist but do I send an obvious message to those who walk in the library that this identity is valued by me?|
|Gender||Call me Tree||A gender-neutral book – how do I convey this in images?|
|Geographic Region||Maybe add blocks for maker space that reflects different cultures|
|Religion||I need to examine this category more closely – don’t know what I have or don’t – certainly don’t have images|
Take a moment to jot down your own reflections about the journey that you are on and the one you want to provide your students. Feel free to share you observations in the comments below.