Promoting Fairness in the classroom

Published on 08/07/2024

According to the 21 SHE Figures report by the European Commission, women remain underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This underrepresentation highlights the urgent need to foster interest in STEM from an early age.

While numerous initiatives aim to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers, there is a noticeable lack of support for teachers in embracing and promoting diversity within their classrooms. This gap is where the Erasmus+ co-funded project, Fairness in Teaching (FIT), comes into play.

Getting an Intersectional Approach to Education

Fairness in teaching is a critical competence in 21st-century education and is recognized as one of the four national research and innovation priorities in Luxembourg. Ensuring equitable access to education for everyone in Europe is also a fundamental aspect of the European Skills Agenda. Despite the various efforts to promote STEM among young girls, many educators lack the training to develop the necessary soft skills to foster an inclusive and diverse learning environment.

Marie Gallais, Research Group Leader, states: "The FIT project aims to equip teachers with practical tools to promote fairness in teaching. This initiative adopts an intersectional approach, addressing not only gender discrimination but also other factors such as disabilities, social class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Recognizing these factors as interconnected, the FIT project seeks to create a more inclusive educational environment for all students."

The FIT project has developed a comprehensive toolbox for teachers to use when encountering stereotypical situations in their classrooms. These situations can result from a lack of female role models in science lessons or the absence of a reflexive approach when using potentially biased AI tools like ChatGPT. The FIT platform offers teachers a way to connect, take an evaluation test, and receive personalized recommandations of pedagogical materials based on their results.

The algorithm generates customized teaching materials, which can include quizzes, games, and exercises. Among the hundreds of resources available on the platform are innovative tools such as the gender game, the privilege STEMwalk, and the guess who is the scientist game. These materials are designed to help teachers address and overcome stereotypes, promoting a more equitable learning environment.

Join the FIT Community

The FIT project invites educators to join their community of practice and experiment with the toolbox for more fairness in teaching. By participating in this initiative, teachers can access valuable resources and support to create a more inclusive classroom environment, ultimately encouraging a more diverse group of students to pursue careers in STEM.

With its intersectional approach and comprehensive toolbox, the programme provides educators with the tools they need to promote fairness in teaching. By joining the FIT community, teachers can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in STEM, regardless of their background.

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