My biggest challenge in inclusive pedagogy

I want to believe myself as a champion of diversity, inclusivity and equity. The struggles I’ve overcome as a human, derived of society’s response to my own identities,  have built a deep empathy for others. As a member of an under-invited group that has been marginalized by my culture, I have seen first hand how our upbringing may negatively and some times unknowingly affect the way we act onto others. Luckily, these challenges, and the progressive environment that surrounds me, have allowed me to develop awareness of my own biases that I need to overcome to be a better person, and in turn, a better teacher.

One thing that has been a bit harder for me to understand is the fact that this experiences, even though truly challenging and unfortunate, are an advantage that I have over people that did not experienced similar hardships in their lives. If I did not go through societal rejection, neglect and underrepresentation, it would’ve been harder for me to understand the challenges that, for example, women have in science or African Americans in higher education. It took me years of reflection, getting informed and discussion with friends and family to get to where I am, and it is hard for me to acknowledge and accept that everyone is at different points in this journey.

That is my biggest challenge when I think of my actions on diversity, inclusivity and equity. When I have discussions with particularly stubborn peers or when someone criticizes the inclusivity strategies I put in place in my classroom, I get frustrated on their lack of understanding. I need to accept that even when my actions did not get the immediate effect that I was looking for, they might contribute to their integral growth on these topics. Just two days ago, when having a heated discussion with a close friend about underrepresentation of women, I had to accept that I wasn’t going to change their mind in one night. My role in their journey is small, but it is still valuable and I will not stop taking action!

I need to recognize that I still have a long way to go on my own journey, and every day and every interaction I take makes me grow into the person I need to be in terms of inclusivity, and how it can I tailor my teaching to be the best for every single one of my students.

4 thoughts on “My biggest challenge in inclusive pedagogy”

  1. Remembering tat we are all on our journeys is a great mantra for inclusive learning. Discussions and faux pas can lead to a lot of “cringy” moments but none of us are perfect. We all started somewhere and some people come from backgrounds and families that make this much more natural.

  2. Thank you for sharing. It is really to realize that you have been within a marginalized community or a group, as I feel the same, you need to understand that the ultimate target is not to change their mind, you need to know more about yourself and what makes you stronger. what can you bring up to the world despite all of neglect and rejection, it has made a stronger determined person to built a better world, and within the coming time, things will be revealed by itself.

  3. Thank you for your post this week. I agree, it is hard to have these conversations with others, especially if they aren’t like-minded. But you know what? Good on you for talking to your friend about representation. Even though you didn’t change their mind, it is important to remember that you likely did make an important impact, even if they don’t see it yet. What I mean is that your conversation is paving the way for them to have more conversations like that in the future–with you, with others, and eventually they may come around if they come into contact with enough folks that they start to think: hey, maybe I had it all wrong before, this really is an issue.

  4. Thanks for sharing your challenges with us. I agree with your conclusion that you are not likely going to change someone’s mind in one conversation, keep having these conversations even though they can be heated sometimes. Talking about topics like inclusion and representation works best when each one of us do their part, I try to not get discouraged when I don’t see an immediate impact, in the end there will come a time when all these small conversations make people think more critically and the impact will take place, hopefully.

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