The OESSTA video, “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy” expresses what I believe to be the main benefit of equity and inclusive education. Equity and inclusiveness shows all students that you, the class, the school and the community value them and their families. This feeling is so important to establish because within that value comes many side benefits. Children bring knowledge to school from their home and families and when we overlook this, we deny them part of the learning process. Children will feel empowered. This can also increase student engagement as well as decrease student misbehaviour – in itself, it can be seen as a form of behaviour management. Students also become well-rounded global citizens as they widen their knowledge and respect for others. The Capacity Building Series “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy” also outlines a strong correlation between school leadership and student achievement. This means that principals and other institutional leaders have to honour the diverse communities, welcome inclusion, and create a positive and diverse school environment.
The OESSTA video also talks about involving and engaging parents. This is important for every student in the class, but also is a great cross-over point between equity and inclusion education and FNMI perspectives. Many parents of Aboriginal students are fearful of the school setting due to personal past experiences and the experiences of their family and friends. Involving Elders, parents, and the appropriate FNMI community in classroom decisions, projects and events creates a perfect blend of equity, inclusion and FNMI perspectives that will benefit all students.
Here is a link to the current situation and strategies for inclusivity in Ontario. Please let me know how you structure your everyday to be inclusive and to be a culturally responsive educator.