Equity and Equality: The Difference.

This afternoon I had a workshop, in which we were all sat down anywhere on any of the four tables. After this, each table was given an envelope. Inside this envelope contained materials and we were told to make something that all students should haveequity-vs-equality in their first week of University. So, in our group (group 3 out of the 4) we were given some materials – but not as much as group 1 and 2. We tried to make a leaflet, found it really difficult, tried our best to make something to impress our new lecturer but it was so hard when every time he came over he wasn’t praising us as much as the other tables. Now, when it’s your first workshop ever, a chance to shine and show how hard you want to work and impress people, it’s extremely hard when it seems he already has favourites in the group.

At the end, however, he asked us to stand and present what we had made. Group 1 making a lovely bag which obviously Derek loved as this was his favourite group – the table that happened to have the most resources also. He marked them 9/10. Group 2’s wasn’t as good as group 1, with just a pad (which was still good by the way) and he marked them 7/10 – because they didn’t have enough resources. It came to my group which only really had paper, couple of post it notes and paper clips and marked us 4/10. Which I was so disappointed with as we tried so hard to impress Derek – and even put his hashtag at the bottom of the leaflet for extra points as we felt he didn’t like our table. But actually, it was group 4 that had it the worst with just a pencil and a post it note (plus a couple of paper clips) and he rated their group a 2/10.

After asking us how it went, how we felt, how was the task. Group 3 and 4 agreed it was hard and felt like we hadn’t done a good job. Whilst groups 1 and 2 had a great time. Derek finally explained to us that it’s not fair to give different people different resources and expect us all to come out with the same thing. When helping others as a lecturer (or a student) that people don’t have the same things and do come from different backgrounds – and that’s’ okay.

Today, I was given a reminder that equality is not the same as equity. That everyone here is given the same starting line, and no one is put into an unfair position or disadvantage.



2 Replies to “Equity and Equality: The Difference.”

  1. Interesting to read your ideas that resulted from the workshop. I suppose my question would be ARE you all starting from the same point? For example only 5% of the school age population in Scotland attend independent (private) schools. Some may argue this is simply about buying privilege, and advantage. So what can or should we do as teachers about wider inequality in society? It is a big question I know, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    1. In response to ‘are we all starting from the same point’ my answer is simply no. We may all have the relevant qualifications and experience to gain us entry into the course, but in society people have different contacts, education, viewpoints, wealth etc. Our wealth and status in society has a significant effect on where we go in our life and what we achieve. I remember watching a documentary on the BBC not long ago about how people who were applying for Medicine in top universities all had the right ‘contacts’ and knew the top people on the course to help them gain entry, this is not fair and therefore everyone can’t be starting from the same point.
      I know universities do try to make everyone equal, give them the resources to help them succeed and go on to get their degree – but unfortunately I don’t believe that this is enough sometimes.

      Tackling the wider inequality in society starts from the child. Making sure that all children are taught the same, and understand that it does not matter what background people have come from and that we are all equal. It’s such a big question and there are so many factors about this question it is difficult to answer. Factors such as the type of school, the area of where the school is, the child, the parents/guardians, etc. The poorest and most disadvantaged children tend to make the least amount of progress at school, and this is something that I would like to try and change when I become a teacher. I think teaching about inequality can help to tackle inequality.
      This is a hard question to answer, and I hope to learn more about how to tackle these kind of issues, especially inequality.

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