Location: United States |  Change Location
Male flipping through Corwin book

Hands-on, Practical Guidance for Educators

From math, literacy, equity, multilingual learners, and SEL, to assessment, school counseling, and education leadership, our books are research-based and authored by experts on topics most relevant to what educators are facing today.



Identity Safe Classrooms, Grades K-5

Places to Belong and Learn
By: Dorothy M. Steele, Becki Cohn-Vargas

Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond

Invaluable teacher vignettes, reflective exercises, and practical advice make this comprehensively researched guide a must for building inclusive, academically challenging classrooms where all students thrive!

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452230900
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 232
  • Publication date: September 05, 2013

Price: $34.95

Price: $34.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.



Every child valued and empowered to learn—this book shows you how!

This book is focused on a set of strategies that have a positive effect on student learning and attachment to schooling, in spite of real and powerful social inequalities. This evidence-based book is drawn from research showing that students from all backgrounds in identity safe classrooms learn better and like school more than their peers in other classrooms.

In identity safe classrooms, teachers strive to ensure that students feel their identity is an asset rather than a barrier to success at school. Elementary teachers will learn the importance of teaching pro-social skills and cooperative learning in the context of high expectations and challenging curriculum.

Use these strategies, rooted in social psychology research and child centered teaching practices, to build communities of learners in diverse classrooms. Invaluable teacher vignettes, reflective exercises, and practical advice make this comprehensive guide a must for creating an inclusive, academically challenging classroom where students come to understand the empowering message that who they are and what they think matters.

“In this timely, engaging, and needed book, Steele and Cohn-Vargas describe creative and captivating ways in which teachers can construct identity safe classrooms where students from diverse racial, social, economic, and linguistic groups can learn and flourish.”
—James A. Banks, Professor, University of Washington
Founding Director, Center for Multicultural Education

“This timely and pragmatic book thoughtfully lays out a new vision of education with design principles for inclusive, respectful, and rigorous classroom environments that promote expansive and culturally validating forms of learning.”
—Kris D. Gutierrez, Professor of Learning Sciences and Literacy
University of Colorado at Boulder

“The authors combine their scholarship, experience, and wisdom in this amazing book. We all want to know: How can we help students enjoy school and become eager learners? Educators, read this book and find out!”
—Carol Dweck, Professor
Stanford University

Key features

  • Practitioner-oriented: Unlike the majority of books on this topic that call on school leaders to shift school culture , Steele and Cohn-Vargas address classroom teachers directly and offer strategies that can be implemented quickly with students.
  • Grounded in a rich body of theory: This will be the first professional development resource that draws on Stereotype Threat, a groundbreaking line of social-psychological theory
  • Classroom-tested: These strategies were highly successful when implemented during a year-long study of 84 elementary classrooms
  • Built around an innovative framework: Features four categories of core instructional practices for creating identity-safe classrooms
  • Includes vignettes and reflective exercises: These practical tools can be used by individual teachers or completed by teacher teams


Dorothy M. Steele photo

Dorothy M. Steele

Dorothy M. Steele, Ed.D. (1945-2017) was the former Executive Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. She was an early childhood educator interested in public schools including teaching practices that are effective for diverse classrooms, alternative assessment processes that inform teaching and learning, and strategies that build inclusive communities of learners in schools. Her work with the Stanford Integrated Schools Project was an attempt to look at these various aspects of schooling in a large urban school district.
Dr. Steele began her work with teachers and children in 1968 in Columbus, OH as the Director/Teacher of one of the city’s first Head Start Programs. During the 1970’s, she served as the Curriculum Coordinator for the City of Seattle’s Children’s Programs, an early childhood teacher educator, a parent educator, and, for eight years, the director of a large, university-based child care center.
In 1987, Dr. Steele began her doctoral work in early childhood education and, with her advisor, developed an alternative assessment process for early childhood education, the Work Sampling System that is being used throughout the world. Her dissertation explored the negative impact of standardized tests on Kindergarten teachers’ educational decisions for their students.
Dorothy Steele received her AB degree in music from Hiram College, Hiram, OH in 1967; the MA in Early Childhood Education from the Ohio State University in 1971; and an Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan in 1994.
Becki Cohn-Vargas photo

Becki Cohn-Vargas

Becki Cohn-Vargas, EdD, spent over 35 years as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and superintendent in rural, urban, and suburban districts. In each setting, she focused on educational equity and strategies for diverse populations. When she learned about research on identity safety classrooms where teachers strive to assure students that their social identities are an asset rather than a barrier to success in the classroom, it became her educational mission. Partnering with Dorothy Steele, identity safety researcher, she coauthored “Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn,” aimed at K–5 teachers. Subsequently, she co-authored “Identity Safe Classrooms Grades 6–12: Pathways to Belonging and Learning”, and “Belonging and Inclusion in Identity Safe Schools: A Guide for Educational Leaders.”

Currently, Becki is an independent consultant and presenter. She was hosted at the White House by President Obama’s education staff and has worked to create identity safe school climates in over 150 schools across the U.S.

Website: http://beckicohnvargas.com.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond


About the Authors

Part I. Getting Started

Chapter 1. Welcome to Readers

Chapter 2. How to Use This Book

Part II. Child-Centered Teaching

Chapter 3. Listening for Students' Voices

Chapter 4. Teaching for Understanding

Chapter 5. Focus on Cooperation

Chapter 6. Classroom Autonomy

Part III. Cultivating Diversity as a Resource

Chapter 7. Using Diversity as a Resource for Teaching

Chapter 8. High Expectations and Academic Rigor

Chapter 9. Challenging Curriculum

Part IV. Classroom Relationships

Chapter 10. Teacher Warmth and Availability to Support Learning

Chapter 11. Positive Student Relationships

Part V. Caring Classrooms

Chapter 12. Teacher Skill

Chapter 13. Emotional and Physical Comfort

Chapter 14. Attention to Prosocial Development





Price: $34.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

Related Resources

  • Access to companion resources is available with the purchase of this book.