December 28, 2022
Any teacher who has ever run a discussion-based classroom will tell you that they want it to be equitable and that all students should be heard—that no one voice dominates. Many teachers even use tools—like Harkness Webs or Equity Maps—to track how many times, and for how many minutes, each student speaks. The goal here is admirable: make an abstract concept, “equity,” concrete and visible. But too often, students walk away from these experiences focused on speaking the “right” amount of times—not actually feeling belonging.
Today’s discussion dilemma
How can you dig deeper than airtime in measuring equity in a class discussion?
Instead of measuring airtime (“how many times/minutes did you speak?”), consider focusing on equity of opportunity (“Do you feel like you can get your voice in when you have something to say? Do you feel like classmates listen when you speak? Do you know what success looks like for you in a discussion?).
The knee-jerk response
How on earth do I do that? This sounds way more complicated than pie slices and spider web diagrams.
Why it matters
Building a culture where it’s not just about did-you-talk but it’s did-you-feel-heard will have…