ABC of INQUIRY – INCLUSIVENESS
ABC of INQUIRY – INCLUSIVENESS “Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”–Pablo Casal
INCLUSIVENESS: To be valued…
The Cambridge dictionary defines inclusiveness as the quality of including many different types of people and treating them all fairly and equally. Within a learning community, inclusiveness can be taken a step further by defining it as the quality and actions that involve many different identities, positions and perspectives and valuing them all fairly and equitably.
Inclusiveness involves a series of deliberate, conscious decisions and actions, it is not a passive process, rather one that involves a commitment to equity, an awareness of power and responsibility.
Members of a learning community that decide to form an inclusive organisation in their learning space have to think carefully about the language they use. Language is a tool of power that constructs realities, forms identities and impacts one’s experience of value, purpose and sense of belonging.
Inclusiveness goes beyond just making sure there are a diverse number of people, genders, etc., it includes making safe spaces for a variety of perspectives, ideas and practices.
Being an inclusive teacher means having a commitment to providing personalised and differentiated learning for all members of the learning community.
Being inclusive is more than notions of diversity, it is a community or space that encourages, is constructive and values change and learning. It involves people who deliberately act to make sure members can access, question, respond and change in ways that are safe, relevant and constructive.
Inclusiveness relies on a developing and changing understanding of the WHO in a learning community. It is based in relationships of trust, spaces that are safe and respect-filled actions.
It means taking time to get to know about the prior knowledges, experiences and perspectives held by learners before launching into a learning topic, so that all learners have the chance to feel they have a solid foundation on which to develop and evolve ideas, perspectives, skills, etc.
It involves learners’ developing and sharing a common language of learning and negotiation, to help navigate the spaces and interactions involved in a learning process. It is critical that in an inclusive community or learning organisation the naming of practices, perspectives, etc. are co-researched and constructed by those in the process.
Inclusiveness asks those with the greatest power to examine and be aware of the power and privilege they bring to a community and to make deliberate choices to make sure ideals they hold are not reified and held in greater value than other ideas, perspectives, identity claims, etc.
Inclusiveness is about creating spaces and communities where all members can access, utilise and contribute to resources and ideas being generated.
*BCW will now use ‘They, their — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.
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