Ethnocultural inclusion exists when there is full recognition and validation of ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity at all levels in schools and communities.
In the larger society, those of us who are members of visible minorities and marginalized groups are included when our life experiences are validated and our individual and collective differences, strengths, needs and circumstances are recognized and accommodated. At the same time, values and experiences common to all human beings are acknowledged and reinforced. Social inclusion engenders equitable opportunities to participate at all levels of society, to develop an individual’s full potential and benefit from society’s available resources (see Understanding Racism, Sexism and Homophobia).
In a school setting, students from all ethnocultural backgrounds and social conditions are included when conditions within the school enable them to overcome their obstacles and realize their full potential. They have real opportunities to participate fully in school life and contribute to creating a positive school climate. They feel appreciated and accepted, feel that they belong at school and see themselves reflected in all activities, both educational and extracurricular. They feel safe and fairly treated and they trust that their specific needs, experiences and circumstances will always be seen as important and valid. They observe such equitable practices modeled by the interaction between the adults (parents and staff) in their school’s community as well.
These positive experiences and relationships are the long-term result of a continual process on the part of school staff to engage all members of the school community in dialogue and efforts to ensure a respectful, equitable and inclusive school climate. A wide range of pro-active strategies to promote inclusive education for marginalized ethnocultural groups in the classroom and the whole school is designed and implemented collaboratively by school staff, students and parents. All members of the school community who witness incidents of racism consistently react and respond to them to ensure that incidents are interrupted (see Strategies for Positive Action).
- In my school, what ethnocultural groups can I identify?
- In what ways are these groups (students, parents and staff) included and how can I tell?
- In what ways are they (we) excluded and how can I tell?
- How can (or how does) my school benefit from ethnocultural inclusion?