Diversity… recognising, celebrating and rewarding every individual for their uniqueness, for what they bring to the table and for the potential they can reach. For me, diversity means equality and inclusion for all, a chance to celebrate differences rather than make people feel like ‘the other’.
Diversity is something we have been discussing for many years, and is something that has been at the forefront of many minds since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, a result of the brutal killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests that followed his death.
The recent events in America have spread over to the UK, one of the most important things that has arisen from this is more and more people discussing how to diversify the curriculum. In order to ‘begin at home’, myself and 3 colleagues have co-founded a ‘Diversity Working Group’ with fellow teachers as a result of our plans to make the A Level curriculum more diverse and inclusive for our learners and local community. This was founded as a result of our discussions about the lack of diversity in parts of the curriculum and it not including everything we would like it to, as well as us noticing patterns in some of the students we appeal to in our subjects. For example, some A Level Film and Media students noticed a lack of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic students in their classes, they also noticed that there was a lack of female scholars and those that were included were labelled as feminists (often seen as negative). My own A Level Religious Studies students noticed a lack of female philosophers and scholars too (only 1 mentioned in the entire specification). Therefore I am delighted that the book ‘The Philosopher Queens’ by Lisa Whiting and Rebecca Buxton has recently been published. I will be incorporating this within my teaching to show my learners a greater awareness of female philosophers and scholars in Religious Studies. Our History teacher extended the list of questions offered for A Level History coursework which have recently been approved by AQA, examples include: South African and Indian home policy, Chinese Factionalism, Japanese Economy, LGBTQ+ Britain, American Women’s Rights and African-American Civil Rights.
We have developed this group from a few discussions and it has successfully made its way to our Principal who will be chairing our diversity awareness meetings. We are hoping to make this a cross-college working group to ensure we are including all of our students. I feel this is the start of what will bring some great changes to our teaching and learning strategies for our learners. I’ll be writing another post on this in a few months time to update you all.
This discussion with members of the University of Buffalo sums up what many of believe about diversity. These are the kinds of discussions I have with my A-Level students to help them gather their own views, learn from each other and to teach them to ask these questions from their peers, friends, family and future colleagues.
What kind of activities/tasks do you have to ensure you are being diverse and inclusive of all your learners? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you so we can share ideas/learn from each other.