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Providing Equity Through Culturally Responsive Counseling

As a graduate student studying school counseling, concepts such as equity and diversity are often discussed, but in practice what do they look like? How do we provide equity in our classrooms and counseling offices?

Vescio (2016) suggests teaching practices that are culturally responsive and focused on three Rs: relationship, relevance, and responsibility. Vescio (2016) defines that the goal of culturally responsive teaching is to provide equity, where each student receives what they need to learn, rather than equality, where each student receives the same thing. In this article, Vescio (2016) suggests that we can provide equity through simple strategies such as getting to know our student’s families and communities better (relationship), understanding the differences in our students home and school lives (relationship), taking time to chart student assets (relevance), building lesson plans around student assets (relevance), and writing down specific commitments to our work as educators (responsibility). Specifically, Vescio (2016) calls on us to make concrete commitments to offering equity to diverse students.

As a counselor, I find this article helpful in framing the need for equity in my counseling office. Just as within a classroom, building relationships with students and caregivers can allow me to better understand my students and how to be equitable towards them. Writing down my own commitments to providing equity can hold me accountable to culturally responsive counseling practices. I recommend using the templates provided in this article as a jumping off point for practicing your three Rs: relationship, relevance, and responsibility.


  • How could you engage with your student’s family/caregivers or community outside of the school environment? How do you think this might impact your perception of students?

  • In what ways are you providing an equitable classroom? What specific strategies could you implement this semester?

Vescio, V. (2016). An Equal Chance At Success: Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices Address Students' Differing Needs. Journal Of Staff Development, 37(5), 18-22.

Molly Ryan is a graduate student pursuing her master’s of education and school counseling license.