In Pearson’s latest range of publishing for schools, we demonstrate how we have embraced the challenge of exposing students to activities related to the United Nations Sustainable Goals. Some of the goals are obviously a part of our DNA: we strive to support the Goal Number 4, Quality Education for all in everything we do. But in even more recent projects, we have also demonstrated a commitment to bringing a sense of equality and inclusiveness to our publishing, thereby supporting Goal Numbers 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 5 (Gender Equality) and 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing).
For a long time now, we have supported teachers with materials for students classified as DSA or BES, but we have been careful not to create a sense of isolating those students or making them feel excluded, from achieving learning goals along with the rest of their classmates, or from feeling the right to express themselves as they really want to. Rather, our ambition has been to ensure that everyone is included in the learning process, can achieve key skills to the best of their abilities and potential. This means we have activities that draw on a student’s creativity, give opportunities for collaborative activities in order to allow everyone the chance to learn from each other. And we provide materials and tools to support this.
So, for example, we have tools like the Easy Learning components for our coursebooks. These are materials that run parallel to the course books – the same content, objectives, outcomes and expectations, but designed in a way which makes it easier for a student with certain learning needs to perform well and understand notions and content more easily.
There are means of checking this, too, thanks to the Quick Check feature of Pearson’s MyApp, and the DSA- or BES-formatted Tests which are designed to ensure that as many students as possible demonstrate their progress and acquisition of learning.
A truly significant contribution for all students’ needs has been Pearson’s development of the Libro Liquido which allows students to view the material coursebook in a way which suits them and on any device that suits them, as being ‘liquido’, the material adapts to the size of the screen a student is using, be it a computer, a tablet of a smartphone.
But we have made an extra effort lately to bring inclusiveness directly onto the page of the materials the students use, using content to reflect all sorts of personalities in the classroom, with a balance for gender, interests and preferences. The students meet characters with diverse skills sets and personalities, and so we nurture an attitude of acceptance of others with skills or personalities different from their own. This creates a safe space for children to accept diversity and be inclusive.
Billy Bot, for example, is a new 5-level course book for students aged 6 to 11. The first thing to notice is that the characters that accompany the children through their English lessons is the diversity of race and gender, so we have a balance between boys and girls, each with an equal role in the story lines, and a balance of Caucasian, Asian and African origins playing, learning and interacting together. As the children grow and learn together, we find numerous examples where diversity is celebrated: even a story for Christmas gives a chance to declare that ‘It’s OK to be different’