Do your student's identity shape their success?


I invite you to join in this month's theme as we explore identity and the connection to student success. Exploring identity is an important part of the educational experience. Let's start with understanding why this topic is important by reviewing Why is Identity the Latest Focus of Education? From the article...

Firstly, neuroscience and the idea of the self (and the implications of this) has massively developed over the last few decades; we are only just now truly coming to understand both from a philosophical and scientific level how our identities shape us and our societies.

As we move through the discussion, I hope you will contribute your questions, ideas, and comments. 

Kathy Tracey



As we continue to explore identity, I invite youto review the article on Exploring Intersectionality

Every person has multiple intersecting identities. For example, someone may be a daughter, a student, a person with ADHD, a tennis player, a Black person, a girl from the Caribbean, and/or a person learning the English language. The science of learning and development has found that the pathway to learning and thriving is enabled when all of the intersecting facets of a person’s identity are recognized, understood as intersectional, and affirmed by and central to the context6 (relationships, experiences, environments, and cultures) that is intentionally designed and provided by education systems, schools, and the adults who work in them.

After reading, share your thoughts on the following:

  • How do your student's intersecting identities present opportunities and challenges to success?  and, 
  • How does your identities frame your leadership and/or classroom styles?

I'm looking forward to the discussion. 




As we continue to explore resources and information on identity and how it impacts our learners, I thought you might find this article interesting: Supporting Student Identity Through Unwanted Change  

While the article is focused on early childhood education, I found the strategy for Bibliotherapy relevant for our adult learners. 

Bliotherapy, using books for managing stressful situations, finding healing, or supporting identity, is a natural fit for the classroom. Books are generally available and emphasis on literature fits most classroom goals. In bibliotherapy, teachers match issues a student is experiencing with books of similar focus. 

Bibliotherapy provides distance for students to try out responses and emotions without taking the risk in their own lives. 

Chime in with your suggestions about using literature (including yound adult literature) in the classroom to support student success.

Kathy Tracey 


We've been looking at identity, defining identity, looking at bibliotherepy, and today we will look further into identity crisis. 

Think about our new students who have not really figured out 'who' they want to be, and they will also maybe struggle with their changing family relationships as their identity evolves. How do you see this information connecting to student retention?  

What is an Identity Crisis identifies four different identity statuses that people move through as they develop their identity. The may include:  

  • Foreclosure status is when a person has made a commitment without attempting identity exploration.
  • Identity achievement occurs when an individual has gone through an exploration of different identities and made a commitment to one.
  • Identity diffusion occurs when there is neither an identity crisis nor commitment. Those with a status of identity diffusion tend to feel out of place in the world and don't pursue a sense of identity.
  • Moratorium is the status of a person who is actively involved in exploring different identities but has not made a commitment.

Do you see your students move through this process? Where do we find our students?  

Chime in with your ideas. 
Kathy Tracey

As we continue to explore identity, it is critical that we also included gender identity and Inclusive environments often begin with understanding terminology. I invite you to read The Gender Spectrum  and then explore Teaching Beyond the Gender Binary in the University Classroom.  

My most powerful take-away from these articles are the actions that can easily be integrated into the classroom and program. A summary of the gender confirming examples include: 

  • Only call roll or read the class roster aloud after providing students with an opportunity to share with you the name and pronouns that they use and those they want you to use in the class.
  • Allow students to self-identify their name and pronouns. 
  • Include your name and pronouns with the class on the first day.
  • Acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake about someone’s pronoun and correct yourself.
  • If a student shares their gender identity with you, do not disclose the student’s gender identity to others unless you have obtained their consent.
  • Honoring students’ names and pronouns includes making sure that other people use the correct name and pronoun for that student.  
  • Do not ask personal questions of transgender and/or non-binary people that you would not ask of others.

How can you use this information to create gender confirming programs?