Reflection: Exercises and Examples

The following exercises encourage personal reflection on equity issues for each of us as an individual, a citizen, and a teacher. We can do the exercises in many ways. For example, we can:

  • Take a few minutes to read through and reflect upon each question.
  • Jot down our answers to the questions after reading the section of the Teacher Training Module on Equity and Inclusive Education where they are found.
  • Keep a journal and respond to the questions over a period of a few weeks or months as we observe our daily life and interactions in our classroom, school or community.

Increasing equity and inclusion in classrooms, schools and society starts with individual reflection leading to action. Ultimately, real change can only occur when changes take place in the whole school, involving all members of the school community (students, parents, teachers, support staff, administrators). These simple exercises can help us launch that process.

Reflecting on equity and inclusive education in schools

  • In my school, who needs to be included and why?
  • What measures and practices are currently in place to support their inclusion?
  • What measures and practices are needed and how would they benefit my school?

Reflecting on ethnocultural inclusion

  • 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?

Reflecting on equity across the sexes

  • In my school, how are girls and women (students, parents, 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 promoting equality between men and women and between girls and boys?

Reflecting on gender and sexual diversity

  • In my school, how are members of the school community (students, parents, staff) with diverse sexual orientations 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 the promotion of inclusive education for students with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities?

Reflecting on power and identity in our lives:

  • What differences can I see among my students?
  • What differences do I know about, even though I cannot see them?
  • What differences might there be, even though I cannot see them and do not know about them?
  • What do I know about identities that are important to individual students in my class?
  • Have I made any assumptions about my students’ identities?

Reflecting on the use of power

Take a few moments to jot down answers to the following questions:

  • Who am I? Describe yourself and the different components of your social identity. With which social groups do you share things in common?
  • How do I identify?  What aspects of yourself are important to you and why? Which are not so important and why?
  • What are my privileges? Imagine yourself outside of the group (or groups) where you currently belong. What would you lose if you no longer belonged to that group (those groups)? What would you gain?

Reflecting on what I have learned about being a man or a woman

  • What have I learned about being a woman/man?
  • What do I expect from others about being a woman/man?
  • What happens when I act according to those expectations?
  • What happens when I do not act according to those expectations?

Reflecting on sexism

  • What other consequences of sexism can I identify?
  • What manifestations of sexism have I seen (or experienced) in my school?
  • How have sexism and misogyny had an impact on my personal development and my life?
  • If I am a woman, what are some small steps I could take in my own life to question any gender roles that may have limited me in the past?
  • If I am a man, what are some small steps I could take in my own life (e.g. personal and professional interactions) to more evenly share my power and privilege with women (can include friends, colleagues, family members or intimate partners)?
  • What kinds of strategies can I identify (or have I implemented in my school) that can facilitate the healthy development of girls’ and young women’s gender identity?

Reflecting on what I have learned about people from racialized ethnocultural groups

Pay attention to some of your immediate, unfiltered reactions to people from different ethnocultural backgrounds that you encounter (either in your personal life, the school environment or through the media).

  • What are some of the things I have learned about people from ethnocultural groups that are different from my own?
  • What are some of the things I have learned about people from my own ethnocultural group?
  • Where do I remember learning those ideas? (media, books, family, school, etc.)
  • How do those ideas affect others and myself?
  • What have I done, or what could I do, to unlearn those ideas?

Reflecting on racism

  • What other consequences of racism can I identify?
  • What manifestations of racism have I seen (or experienced) in my school?
  • What are some small steps I could take in my own life (e.g. personal and professional interactions) to share more evenly my power and privilege as a white person (if that is my identity)?
  • What kinds of strategies can I identify (or have I implemented in my school) that can facilitate the development of young people’s ethnocultural identity?

Reflecting on what I have learned about LGBTQ people

  • What are some of the things I have learned about people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities?
  • Where do I remember learning those ideas (media, books, family, school, etc.)?
  • How do those ideas affect others and me?
  • What have I done, or what could I do, to unlearn those ideas?

Reflecting on homophobia

  • What other consequences of homophobia can I identify?
  • How has homophobia had an impact on my personal development and my life?
  • What manifestations of homophobia have I seen (or experienced) in my school?
  • What are some small steps I could take in my own life (e.g. personal and professional interactions) to more evenly share my power and privilege as a straight person (if that is my identity)?
  • What kinds of strategies can I identify (or have I implemented in my school) that can facilitate the healthy development of young people’s sexual orientation and gender identity?