Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement in Education

 A pedagogy is inclusive only when there are a diverse group of people equally engaged with biases discarded. Inclusive pedagogy can just be useful when we have radical educators who are intentional about teaching in an inclusive environment.  According to Katherine Philip diversity can be difficult if not well managed with intentions to bring innovations and development.

I believe having a diverse community does not mean that it is inclusive.  However, the community can only be inclusive when there is an intention to embrace each other’s difference regarding ideas and collaborate in enriching a healthy diversity. 

Inclusive pedagogy makes a pedagogy engaged and not static. I remember reading through the book known as Teaching to Transgress by Bell Hooks she laid emphasis on strategies on how to teach in an inclusive classroom which was also mentioned by Georgetown which includes getting to know the student, active commitment to the process of self-actualization for both the students and teachers to be empowered. These self-actualization process means to be aware of your biases, also give your student ground rules to help in structuring conversation.

Hooks emphasized that the learning ability of student is so diverse, and so there is a need for educators to be flexible. This is very achievable if the educator is fully aware of the various theories of learning ( experiential, critical race theory, feminist, transformative, socio-cultural e.t.c) and adopting these theories into the classroom makes teacher grow in the process.  In my home country, we don’t have racial diversity in education, but we have other forms of diversity instead in which one of it includes various learning styles, however one thing I think most educators in my home country fails to do is to be flexible in their ways of teaching.

As an educator learning through experience is mainly significant to me because it serves as a learning process and also a product.  I remembered during my undergrad in Nigeria almost all courses taken was taught through the banking system and there was no much experience attached to the learning and so I only learned it for grades, I had no idea on how to practically apply this knowledge. So, therefore, I believe firmly in both creating experience for the learners, allowing the learners to make their own experience that gives birth to new knowledge from their experience.

Most importantly I found inclusive pedagogy as very interesting and also challenging.  It is interesting because it creates a relationship and produces freedom for both the learners and the educator. Challenging because it can be so demanding in term of individual conscious effort to teach to transgress and the feedback from the learners might not be encouraging. There is a need for the learners to realize he or she needs this knowledge, if the learner cannot come to this realization then it might look challenging to achieve an inclusive pedagogy.

However, as an educator, I still ask myself the question of how can one genuinely differentiate if the skill learned by the learner will be for a long term or short term period? The reason for this question is that even after teaching learners a particular skill in a program, one cannot fully determine if the learner will attain 100 percent of the ability even after several years of the program. When does one stop follow-up? What if there is no trust between the learners and the educator and so the follow up done did not efficiently yield because the learners give untrue feedback to get more grant. As an educator, how can one address this issue?

 

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11 thoughts on “Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement in Education”

  1. Thanks Diana, i really appreciate the feedback you gave me from the syllabus. You are so right, i believe being intentional is the key. We might not have gotten there yet but its a good start for inclusive pedagogy.

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  2. I really like a lot of points you made in this post. Your idea about inclusive pedagogy, especially your mention that having a diverse community does not automatically form an inclusive environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your post. I agree with you that “having a diverse community does not mean that it is inclusive”. I see a great value in Hooks idea of self-actualization. Being aware of a wide range of learning theories can definitely enrich the classroom experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Helen! We also don’t have racial diversity in my home country and I totally agree with you that, instead, diversity exists in many other different forms. Unfortunately, there is very little willingness to embrace the forms of diversity that we face.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for your post. I think one of the biggest challenges as educators is trying to meet students where they are while also moving the class forward to a unified end goal ( not always possible). I’m glad you discussed the conscious effort of diversity and engaging. Its not easy and I think often times we’re lead to believe that just putting a diverse group in a room together will yield better results. While this may be true there is also an art of connecting these individuals so they can identify ways in which their diversity connects them as opposed to divides.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Helen !
    I love bell hooks and I’m glad that her ideas are resonating with you too! I am always fascinated by her simple and deep prose.
    I also agree with Diana about the having the facade of diversity versus genuine inclusion. I think genuine inclusion means having important decisions made by a diverse group of people in key university roles, and about having the courage not to shun away from difficult conversations about race, gender and other identities. And just as Helen points out it is going to be a difficult task, but at least it would be an authentic effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Helen,

    I was really interested in hearing your thoughts, especially after peer reviewing your syllabus last week.

    I think a lot of time, universities, and maybe even individual departments or courses, are so focused on diversity, on having the numbers to say “look at all this variance in our student body!” that they don’t allocate enough time, energy, and resources to inclusion. Not only do we need to see racial, gender, socioeconomic, ability, etc. diversity in our colleges and our classrooms, we need to make sure that members of every community on campus are included and have opportunities to be engaged and active.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love your comment about inclusive pedagogy being engaged and not static. Yes! That is an excellent way to summarize the purpose. We have to be proactive in order to grow. Staying the same only furthers biases and judgments.

    Liked by 1 person

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