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It can be likely that some activities from the KHST! and Stress Lessons guides may receive a stressor suggestion related to identity-based stressors. (Example: on page 43 of the Stress Lesson Grade 7-9; Problem Solving). Some students will come into the classroom already comfortable talking about their social identities and identity-based stressors, while others might not have had any opportunities to do so before. An educator or group leader can create a safer space for all student by having an empathetic approach, (e.g., listening and validating), but it is not the role of the educator to do group therapy. Ultimately, talking about our stressors and our stress responses—whatever they may be– through the use of the KHST! and Stress Lessons activities, is working towards fostering a mentally healthy classroom and environment.

We can do this by:

  • understanding and honoring different identities, and
  • acknowledging the impacts of oppression, power, and privilege


Diversity plays an important role in how classroom discussions will unfold, so it’s important to identify the types of diversity in each group. Creating an environment where diversity is present allows people to feel represented, and understood, and an opportunity to learn about each others’ differences.

As an educator, you may see a range of visible identities such as gender or race. However, each student (and every person) has multiple identities, and how those identities intersect can have very different effects on individual experiences. Creating safer space in the classroom for multiple identities is important for equity.

[2] “Differentiated instruction” and “universal design” are terms referring to tailoring instruction to meet individual needs and are often referenced together. Differentiated instruction is a pedagogical term, while universal design is more affiliated with equitable/inclusive/human-centered design in general (learning, engineering, physical accessibility, etc.). Both differentiated instruction and universal design encourage educators/teachers to implement multiple ways of achieving the same learning outcome, to set all students up for success. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.