Barriers in CS- What we Control and What we Influence

We know that there are many systematic barriers that exist in CS classrooms which ultimately impacts access, diversity and inclusion in the CS classroom. We also know that these barriers often lead to equity gaps and causes concerns among CS educators.  It is often hard to distinguish what barriers we have control over in our classrooms and what barriers we only have influence over.  When concerns occur, I often use the below Concern-Influence-Control Model.  This model is used in the Code.org Computer Science Discoveries course and highlights what we are "concerned" about is much larger than what we can "influence" and/or "control". Likewise, what we can "control" is smaller than the things we can "influence".  I often use this model when faced with making real life situation decisions. I call it my Circle of Control

Circle of Control

Using this Concern-Influence-Control model and thinking about your role in the classroom what barriers exist in your classrooms, school district or community that you have influence over and what barriers exist that you can control?




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Submitted by Vanessa Jones on Thu, 12/30/2021 - 4:28 pm EST

Here are some reflection and discussion examples I use to help guide the conversations when facilitating sessions with Code.org CSD participants


  • Concern - some students don’t have computers at home
  • Influence - students are pulled out of CS class for additional services
  • Control - students are being exposed to curriculum materials that reinforce stereotypes about who belongs in CS

Prompt: Brainstorm barriers that fit into each of the following categories:

  • Concern: things that I am concerned about, but cannot really influence
  • Influence: things that I may be able to influence, but I cannot control
  • Control: things that I have the power to control

What others can you add to this list?