Ishii- Jordan, S.R. (2011), “Preparing Teachers to Develop Inclusive Communities”. In Landsman, J., & Lewis, C.W. (Eds.), White Teachers/ Diverse Classrooms: Creating Inclusive Schools, Building on Students’ Diversity, and Providing True Educational Equity (pp.314-328). Sterling, VA, USA: Stylus Publishing.
Like other articles that I have found related to my inquiry question, Ishii-Jordan echoes that there needs to be balance in teacher concern for developing their students’ academic potential that does not focus solely on achieving certain academic ends, but also valuing the learning process (2011, p.318). There is an affective dimension to teaching where the educator “should understand how students learn, be willing to motivate and engage the students in learning, and truly care for students” (Ishii-Jordan, 2011,p. 318). One way of enacting such practice is for teachers to become “steeped in cultural competence”, just as other articles have suggested as well (Ishii-Jordan, 2011, p. 323).
As beings, we tend to respond to situations based on “an attempt to interpret an unexpected response from someone within the framework of our own cultural and life experiences” (Ishii-Jordan, 2011, p. 319). This is helpful insofar as we recognize that we have lack of personal experience to pull from to make sense of and respond to someone else’s experience. The response to this uncomfortable reality is to provide teachers the opportunity to be exposed to diverse life experiences in terms of racial, socioeconomic, cognitive, age, and other relevant constructs” (Ishii-Jordan, 2011, p. 319). The more exposure to difference, the more (culturally) aware individuals can become. Reflecting on my own experiences when encountering situations that I’m not as familiar with, I often find it useful to ask the advice of those around me in how they would address the situation, or for them to share context of information that may be useful for me to know beforehand to ease navigation of the situation.
Another suggestion includes “providing opportunities for teacher candidates to work with diverse families /parents” (Ishii-Jordan, 2011, p. 326). UBC’s Education Program has yet to incorporate this particular facet, but it would be fascinating if in the future as part of program training, TC’s were given opportunities to engage with, speak, listen to, and respond to the diverse communities. Ishii- Jordan further suggests “[providing] immersive experience and reflective opportunities as part of the teacher candidates’ preparation (2011, p. 326). UBC’s TC program has been particularly conscientious on the self-reflexivity aspect of pre-service teaching. The program has been designed so that the Inquiry class allows TCs to deeply engage with individual queries related to their practice in a supportive environment with peers.
Ultimately, “one cannot build community if one does not have the opportunity to practice community” (Ishii- Jordan, 2011, p. 324). The author suggests they can begin exercising positive community building within their program in the university setting. I would have to agree! It is one thing to ideologically construct the notion of inclusion and community building, but it is also far more effective to physically practice doing so.