The Equity Literacy Framework
Equity literacy is a framework for cultivating the knowledge and skills that enable us to be a threat to the existence of inequity in our spheres of influence. More than cultural competence or diversity awareness, equity literacy prepares us to see even subtle ways in which access and opportunity are distributed unfairly across race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, language, and other factors.
By recognizing and deeply understanding these conditions, we are prepared to respond to inequity in transformative ways in the immediate term. We also strengthen our abilities to foster longer-term change by addressing the bigger institutional and societal conditions that produce everyday manifestations of inequity.
Read more about the equity literacy framework HERE.
Workshop Theme and Topic Examples
Although we construct our workshops around the specific needs individual organizations, some of the common themes and topics around which we have built workshops are listed below.
Introductory and Framework Building
Several organizations, schools, and universities have hired us to help "begin the conversation" about equity, helping them develop a framework and shared language. Often they are organizations that sponsor diversity activities such as cultural fairs, but that need help framing a more forward-leaning vision for institutional equity efforts.
Curricular, Pedagogical, or Instructional
We often are asked to help educators strengthen classroom practice related to equity. In these workshops we help participants push beyond heroes and holidays approaches to an equity literacy approach, focusing on teaching, student engagement, and other classroom practices.
Some organizations are ready to move beyond introductory framework building and toward organizational or institutional transformation. We work with them to craft more advanced workshops. These workshops or workshop series engage participants in a process of critically examining how access and opportunity are distributed by societal and institutional policy and practice. We facilitate difficult conversations that are vital to cultivating equity literacy in ourselves and in the institutional culture.
Is your organization grappling with a specific equity issue such as racial inequity or economic "achievement gaps"? We conduct workshops focused on these issues as well as gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, and more.
Equity Leadership Development
Too often professional development opportunities related to equity focus on the people at the very beginning of the awareness process and fail to facilitate growth for people who see themselves as potential leaders for equity. Do you have a group of people already dedicated to equity and on the path toward equity literacy? We will work with them on how to provide leadership and facilitate institutional growth. We also develop workshops specific to administrators, managers, and other institutional and community leaders.
We believe that the skill of facilitation -- effective approaches for engaging people in dialogue about equity issues -- is sorely lacking in schools and communities. As a result, opportunities for growth often slide by because educators or community leaders are unsure how to address them effectively. One of our specialties is dialogue facilitation and the preparation of others to facilitate the difficult conversations.
Train the Trainers
In our attempt to help schools and communities continue strengthening in-house equity capacity, we develop train-the-trainers experiences. We help interested people build the skills they need to conduct the sorts of workshops we conduct and provide the sorts of supports we provide.
Our Approach to Professional Development
We recognize that every person, school, and organization has different needs -- that we're on different points on the road toward equity. So we do not begin with canned programs and presentations. Instead we work with each individual organization (educational, community, governmental) to develop a deep understanding of its needs, then collaborate in the design of a relevant program or series of programs.
We also strike a balance between practitioners' desires for practical tools and the need for shifts in understanding that enable people to create and sustain equitable policies, practices, and institutions. We strive to provide participants with tools they can apply immediately, but we do so in the context of deep learning.
We are dedicated to providing experiences that build momentum, that people with whom we work to continue the discussions and movement when we are no longer there. We recognize that many schools, non-profits, and other organizations do not have sufficient resources to become reliant on outside consultants. We will help you and your organization develop the skills to stay on the equity path.
Pedagogically, our workshops are highly interactive. We incorporate engaging activities and exercises as well as opportunities to apply conceptual learning to real problems. We have developed a widely used case study approach for this purpose.