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3 Tips for Making Your Classroom More Gender Inclusive

Helping gender-expansive students feel seen and included doesn’t have to be complicated—and it benefits everyone in the class.

August 31, 2023

When middle school science teacher Ace Schwarz started trying to make their classroom more gender inclusive, they noticed it was good for everyone. “Students of all identities feel accepted and learn how to be better humans going out into the world—respecting each other, respecting others, and just recognizing that our identities are beautiful and can exist in so many different ways.”

Making your classroom more gender inclusive can feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be, according to Schwarz. Focus on small changes, and remember, says Schwarz, “it doesn’t all have to be done at once. If you think of it like a gender-inclusive mountain, that peak seems really, really far away. But if you take one tip and just practice that one tip and get really, really good at it, that’s a step up the mountain. And then you can keep adding new tips as you get really good at the previous ones.”

Even these small changes can have a big impact for students. Schwarz was motivated to start implementing them because “I did not have that experience in middle school, and I was very confused about my identity. I didn’t feel affirmed in any way in school.... And so having the opportunity to do so is fulfilling for me. And it just makes my heart really happy because I think that is so important for kids to feel safe and affirmed at school. And I am working towards making that a reality in my own classroom.”

Want additional ideas to help you make your classroom more inclusive? Check out these terrific resources and checklists from the two teachers behind Gender-Inclusive Classrooms, or read this Edutopia article by Laura Lee, “A Framework for Supporting Gender-Diverse Students.”

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Filed Under

  • Education Equity
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Diversity
  • Mental Health
  • 6-8 Middle School
  • 9-12 High School

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