The importance of inclusivity has been well demonstrated in my field of Psychology, which is still trying to make up for past psychology researchers’ failure to recognize inclusivity’s value. The theoretical foundations of psychology are rooted in the experiences of the early psychologists, who were all White, Western men. Theory was shaped by their understanding of the world and the results of studies based on samples of, once again, White, Western men.
However, as more studies were performed in more diverse areas, many of the early theories upon which the current understanding of psychology was based were failing to replicate. In psychology terms, the theories were failing to generalize to wider populations. Thanks to the open-mindedness and work done by cross-cultural researchers and researchers with other backgrounds, psychologists began realizing the extent to which they made false assumptions about people because they had never known any differently. They had never thought to question that factor, this element, those interpretations. They had never understood the extent to which people perceive the world differently, and now they were starting to see the implications of those differences.
Similarly, fostering an environment of inclusivity in the classroom is important to gain multiple perspectives from people of different walks of life. They can enlighten you to differences that had never occurred to you could even be different. Silencing contrasting voices is a disservice to the pursuit of knowledge – as is the failure to encourage such voices. Many students won’t speak up if they’re not certain that their comments will be met with enthusiasm. Through increased interaction and support of all (topical) commentary, I hope to make my students feel comfortable in the classroom and confident in sharing their own, unique takes on the course material.