Ontario's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, 2009, calls educators to:
-create and maintain schools where students feel welcome, accepted, and included beyond mere tolerance -develop caring citizens who will contribute to a cohesive society -create and maintain schools that allow students to see themselves reflected in their learning and environment -allow students to contribute to their communities in a manner that is participatory, engaging, productive and responsible
In order for students to feel included, see themselves reflected in and contribute and participate, the facilitator in the classroom must come to know each student. To know comes through connection. To know goes beyond one label or two. To know is a development of trust so that there is an asking, a listening, and a responding over and through the entire relationship.
To feel welcome beyond mere tolerance and to contribute, one cannot be bound in relationship of power and control. In order to participate one must feel that one's voice is welcomed and listened to (not an asking for the sake of asking). It means working WITH in all aspects - with content, with curriculum and in the shadows.
Equity and Inclusive Education is NOT:
-not a lesson or series of lessons -guest speakers -posters -multicultural days or months -not a classroom based on a power structure