Tips to Promote Inclusivity and Joy from the 2021 National Teacher of the Year

By Barbranda Lumpkins Walls
Courtesy of Clark County School District

Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 National Teacher of the Year, has a clear vision for the future—a “joyous and just” education for every child. Part of that vision includes supporting the strong foundation of inclusivity and equity that young children naturally possess.

“They understand that while everybody needs something different to succeed, everybody also needs the same amount of love and inclusivity,” she explained. It’s important to help students develop their empathy and the ability to do what kids do best; hang on to things that are fair.

Parents can encourage their children to be more inclusive in their relationships—and even help them find joy in the learning process.

Tips from America’s Top Teacher

  • Create a positive, healthy self-identity.
    Help children be proud of who they are and where they come from. That includes pride in their culture, language and knowledge.
  • Show how interconnected we all are.
    Balance self-pride and confidence with the knowledge that all people are connected to one another, not only in their immediate community but around the world.
  • Meet your children where they are.
    Help them feel like what they are learning becomes part of themselves so that they will have an intrinsic motivation for learning.
  • Ensure they have a voice in what they learn.
    Tap into your children’s interests. For example, if they like comic books, help them learn through comic books.
  • Provide collaborative learning spaces.
    Children can thrive and learn from each other when they have opportunities to talk and share their strengths with others.

Barbranda Lumpkins Walls is a freelance writer and editor in Alexandria, Va.

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