What we believe about inclusion…
by Sarah Thawley, Inclusion Advocate, NIS
So what is Inclusion?
- Inclusion is both a philosophy and a practice, it is the only term which is specifically part of our mission and a strategy project
- It is grounded in social justice principles of who we value in our community and wider society.
- It is respecting the diversity that we all bring to our community, and what we learn from each other.
- We believe it is the right thing to do.
People will sometimes say that inclusion is an ideal but not a realistic practice.
- The question will be asked: how can we be inclusive while at the same time preparing kids for the real world?
The answer is simple:
- Inclusion is the real world – inclusion is about living and working with people who are different than ourselves
- Inclusion is about tolerance of others, tolerance of their neurodiversity, their sexuality, and gender, their race, culture and language background. Inclusion is about working in an environment that may not be culturally or linguistically familiar
- This is inclusion, it is who WE are; it is the real world
- As political discourses of hate and intolerance become normalized around the world we need to be teaching and practicing the value of embracing diversity
- This is why we have an obligation to teach all our students how to live and work alongside people that are different from them, and that there is strength in diversity.
What does this mean for us? it is:
- understanding that having a diverse student population benefits ALL students learning
- a way of thinking, teaching and learning
- about how we embrace students who learn differently and at different paces,
- Kevin Bartlet said just last week “We know every child is different. We act as if they were all the same. Time to close that knowing-doing gap”
- Having students with different capabilities and talents at NIS is not enough, this is tolerance.
- We need to move beyond this, to ensure all students thrive, and all community members benefit from our diversity
- We need to move inclusion beyond support services and make it a whole school stance on teaching and learning … we do this through:
- differentiated instruction that has both meaning and value to the students.
- responsive classrooms that are safe respectful and challenging for all
- knowing our students – so we can make decisions that impact student learning.
How are we going to do this?
- By prototyping our ideas
- The ideas come from us …
- Strategy Teams job is to support you in these prototypes.
- Some examples are:
- The PYP ELL teachers looked at how they can use their time differently.
- Another group looked at how we can better serve ELL students in the MYP
- 2 teams looked at how we use data to support student learning in the classroom
- a PYP team looked at bullying prevention strategies in the classroom
- A team looked at on how we could be serving talented and exceptionally-abled students at NIS
- We hope to have a team who wants to look at cultural and linguistic groups and how we could better serve their needs in our community
- NIS is an Inclusive community in that we are tolerant and respectful of diversity.
- We now need to learn how to thrive in our diversity, by closing the knowing – doing gap.