Research Library

Restoring and protecting a sense of belonging for Black, Brown, and poor youth remains at the heart of social justice in U.S. schools. Drawing on research and lived experiences as an educator, Dr. Jamaal Matthews discusses mindsets and practices teachers can develop to assuage the assault against belonging and become proactive in restoring equity and opportunity in mathematics classrooms that serve historically disenfranchised students. This paper highlights the critical mindsets necessary for enacting and sustaining equity-based teaching practices. Next, it provides instructional strategies embedded within two high-leverage practices (i.e., coordinating and adjusting instruction for connection to students’ lives and analyzing instruction for the purpose of improving it) aimed at supporting teachers in understanding the significance of belonging beyond simply building classroom community, and in becoming aware of their power to promote belonging through their instructional choices and practices.