Best Practice

Inclusion: Is your classroom a safe space?

How can we create equitable and inclusive classrooms for all students with a culture of psychological safety? For many of us, this will involve getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Zahara Chowdhury offers her advice

I was very fortunate with my PGCE placement. While the workload and pressure haunted me, I felt incredibly safe in my classroom.

I felt seen and heard by every single student and I know they felt the same from me too. I trained at a school with more than 80% global majority students, and we all “belonged” in those classrooms and lessons.

In between lesson observations and droning on about exam rubric, my students would make me cry with laughter. There was a place and space for everyone.

Fast forward to my NQT year and I was given contrary advice: “Don’t smile until Christmas.” The classroom was my domain, I was told, and every student “should” do as I say.

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