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Running head: Creating an Inclusive & Equitable Learning Environment for All Learners 1

Creating an Inclusive & Equitable Learning Environment for All Learners

Marissa Carrick

University of South Florida

Creating an Inclusive & Equitable Learning Environment for All Learners 2

Creating an Inclusive & Equitable Learning Environment for All Learners

The School Context

I intern at a Ringo Elementary School (a pseudonym has been used for privacy). This is a

title I school in Tampa, Florida, and has a diverse group of students. The school has 724 students

enrolled and the demographic of the school is 47% Black, 33% Hispanic, 9% White and 11%

Indian, Asian, and Multi. The school has a mission of providing the opportunity to all of its

students to become outstanding citizens. They have planned to complete this mission by creating

a goal for all students and teachers to reach their highest potential.

Classroom Context

I am an intern in a fifth-grade self-contained classroom. My collaborating teacher (CT)

has been teaching for 20 years and truly does

enjoy it. She also teaches in the extended learning

program after school as well. My classroom is

very diverse in the cultures that surround our

room. I have some American and African-

American, some Asian descent, and even one

student from India. My class has a total of 18 students; ten boys and eight girls. The students in

the classroom have no learning or special needs; however, they do lack a sense of respect and

community with each other.

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The Learning Environment

With this being said, the learning environment in my classroom has changed from the

first day I was there. When I began my internship the student’s

desks were arranged in groups with at least four students per

group. It has recently been modified to having the students sit

in two semi-circles. This change occurred after I spoke with

my CT on multiple occasions regarding issues that I have

observed regarding the student’s behavior. While many of the

students are well-behaved, there are a few that are problematic daily— for instance, they call out,

walk about the room, put their hands on one another, etc.

The room has individual desks for each student as well as a kidney table used for guided

reading and groups. There are colorful anchor charts hanging throughout the room and posters

indicating the expectations of the students. They

also have a restroom located inside the classroom

which is beneficial to the students since they don’t

lose as much instructional time as they travel to

and from the restroom.

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Learner Needs and How the Learning Environment Supports Their Needs

Like I have stated before, the students lack respect for one another and have zero sense of

community in the classroom. I have noticed some students struggling with proper socialization

and confidence within themselves. Most of the days I observed minor bullying—name calling,

tripping, pushing and shoving, just to name a few. The new seating arrangement- Two semi-

circles allows for more of a whole group discussion vs. smaller cliques in the classroom. The

smaller cliques were causing the disruption in the class. Also, all students now face the front of

the room so there is less time for socializing around the room and sneaking off away from the

teachers view. I have now been in the classroom 3 weeks since this change and I can definitely

tell a difference in the student’s behavior as a whole class. While they are not quite a community,

there are less altercations throughout the day.

Philosophy of Management

Belief 1

Based on my observations in the classroom, I realize how important it is to have

classroom management. Students need structure and consistency. However, that does not mean a

dictatorship. I believe in a

collaborating classroom. I

believe that both the teacher

and students need to work

together to have a harmonious

class. This would start from

the first day of school when

the class as a whole, including

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the teacher, work together to create rules and procedures they plan to enforce in the class

consistently. This relates to Alberts theory. This theory provides encouragement and many

opportunities to learn. Albert is known for what is called the three C’s code of conduct: capable,

connected, and contribution (Levin & Nolan, 2014). One way I plan to implement the

collaborative teaching style is by the voice of choice. Giving students the autonomy, they have

desire for helps them learn. But giving them choices that circulate around what you want as the

teacher makes the situation a win-win. I want the students to feel that we are family. Me being

their teacher, I will be there to teach and to guide and support each of my students. One thing I

am very against that theorist Canter believes is that the teacher must be authoritative. It is

believed that because they are the teacher, they deserve more respect.

Belief 2

How the learning environment is set up has a lot to do with how your students will learn.

I personally believe in collaborating ideas so being set into groups

or partners would be very beneficial rather than sitting in rows. I

feel rows indicate individualism and less creativity. Observing in

my CT’s classroom, I have seen multiple changes in the learning

environment. It is clear that not all students will learn the same way. This means that as a

teacher, you must be flexible. My CT spends quite a bit of her personal time at the school trying

to do the best she can to help the students succeed. This has brought to my attention that as a

teacher, your job extends passed the 8:00-2:00 pm that the students are with you. I plan to do

everything I can to make my students successful. I want them to feel as if they are a family and

family takes sacrifice. Which means you have to be willing to give it your all. I personally feel
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that my actions intertwine with my philosophy considering I believe and create ways in the

classroom that are a collaboration between all parties.

Alignment of Environment and Beliefs

Over the course of my internship, I have learned so much. I have taken field notes,

videos, photographs, etc. All of these have been here to help mold me into a wonderful teacher. I

have learned some techniques I plan to implement and have learned some that I plan to not have

enter my classroom. Teachers must be willing to always learn for their students and be flexible to

help them through their journey.

In my classes, I have learned about many different theorists and what they believe, and I

have even taken some of it back into the school I intern at. My CT and I have discussed a few

things I learned which has helped create a new learning environment to hopefully benefit the

student’s success.
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Levin, J., & Nolan, J. (2014). Prinicples of Classroom Management: A Professional Decision-

Making Model. Boston:Pearson