Begin With Ourselves

Diversity can be a touchy subject. It can make people uncomfortable. Diversity, however cannot be ignored. We need to talk about it.

Today, as part of our in-service days, we had a facilitator guide us on beginning that conversation. It was a great start because it wasn’t a session led by someone who had all the answers, but because it was someone who helped us talk, begin to refine, and help us agree on how we define various terms. She started us out with 7 terms:

  • Diversity
  • Cultural Competency
  • Multicultural Curriculum
  • Inclusivity
  • Privilege
  • Equity
  • Multiple Perspectives
All of these can have multiple meanings, and all are important in beginning an honest, safe talk on diversity. An example that came up was a possible hiring practice in an independent school. If it says on the job description: Masters degree and 5 years of independent school experience recommended, is the school potentially ruling out diverse voices that come from a public or parochial school?
For some, diversity brings up the notion of “been there, done that,” but really, diversity is an ongoing endeavor. It promotes social justice, takes away assumptions and prejudices, and teaches us that there is value in what is different. Our school values states that we “actively cultivate and awareness and respect for diversity in all its forms.” Before we can do that with our students, our families, and our greater community, we need to begin with ourselves.
Our facilitator began with an excellent TED talk which I’ve included below. It really is worth the 18 minutes.
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2 thoughts on “Begin With Ourselves

  1. The Miami Dade Schools have these workshops all the time? Why. We are 90% minority, 50% foreign born and many are mixed race. What are we supposed to learn? What assumptions and prejudices are to be taken away? Having to sit through this crap has the effect of polarizing people even more. I’m sick of it. This is not Kansas with it’s 12 Black people and 1 Jew.

  2. I don’t know what to write. The guy above seems so angry. But schools are different now and we need to discuss anything that will help us move about and work in them. I only teach when i am in NZ because her in the US there are many barriers to hiring experience as opposed to being US educated.. anyway.. keep looking and keep learning.. this is what we are teaching the kids to do,!

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