Edition XXI

August 2020

Dear subscribers

We hope the start of the new academic year is going well for you.

This week represents the first of the regularly scheduled EDDitions. It’s the EDDi you’ve come to know and love - but with a twist.

Under the theme of diversity in schools, we are presenting EDDi as a journal.

We have contributions from Viv Grant (UK), Sapphira Beaudin (Thailand), Angeline Aow (Germany), and Adam Dedman (Taiwan), and of course, our regular EDDi writer, Dr Stephen Whitehead, on the following topics:

Total inclusivity and the loss of innocence (Dr Stephen Whitehead)

Total inclusivity: influencers and the moral maze (Dr Stephen whitehead)

Racial equality: 5 things all school leaders should ask (Viv Grant)

Identity, intersectionality and inclusivity (Angeline Aow, Edited by Dr. Helen Kelly)

Raising anti-racist children (Sapphira Beaudin)

Nurturing inclusivity for LGBT+ students: the case of Taiwan (Adam K. Dedman)

To whet your appetite, the first of these articles, the introduction, is included below. You can download the full journal here:

Download the EDDi Diversity Special

For those interested in the theme of diversity, you may want to join one of the new ‘Total Inclusivity’ workshops being offered by Dr Whitehead, Sapphira Beaudin and Angeline Aow. Details are available here.

Finally, if you read and enjoyed the hugely popular Asian Century EDDition, Dr Whitehead appeared on the Persyou podcast to discuss the articles themes with Nick McKie. You can download the podcast here.

Over the next few months we have interviews lined up with Chong Wee Meng and Joel Espiritu (Sarjana International School, Brunei); Anne Keeling (International School Consultancy Research) and Ruth Benny (Founder and Head Girl at Top Schools, HK).

And if this were not enough, in October we’ll be offering a free In Conversation webinar with Diane Jacoutot, CEO of Edvectus, titled ‘The impact of Covid-19 on International School Teacher Recruitment’.

To access all of this knowledge and insight, just keep subscribing to and reading EDDi! Back issues are available to paying members.

Happy reading

EDDi


TOTAL INCLUSIVITY AND THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE

By Dr Stephen Whitehead

Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We publish this first digest of the 2020/21 EDDi at a time when the world of education has never seemed more in turmoil. Schools, colleges and universities are desperately trying to establish some level of cohesion, predictability and stability for students, parents and staff.

For many, it may well appear that W.B. Yeats caught the essence of it:

“Things have fallen apart, the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is lost.

This quote may appear rather dramatic, but then 2020 has been nothing if not dramatic. And as each drama unfolds so it tortuously peels back the skin of innocence enveloping human consciousness and belief.

For a good many of us, 2020 has seen us loose whatever innocence we once had - and innocence lost is never regained.

But innocence always was a luxury, denied to those forced to confront the darker side of the human condition. Only the very young, or the very artless, can be innocent in this world. If you are LGBTQ, then innocence will be lost the moment you realise too few understand your identity, nor indeed want to tolerate it. If you are a female, then innocence will succumb to reality the first time you try to confront a patriarchal condition which attempts to define you and posit your identity as lesser than the male.

And, if you are Black then your innocence won’t survive childhood in a White-dominated society.

Covid-19, MeToo, and the Back Lives Matter Movement may have swept away our last flaky remnants of naivety, but truth is, loss of innocence has been building up for some time, for all of us.

Perhaps you lost it when you heard of your favourite entertainer - genial portrayer of family values - being accused of sexual molestation of children? Did it fly out the window when you learned of the rituals of sex abuse and sexual harassment taking place in elite, prestigious independent schools and orchestrated by ‘devoted teachers’? Or maybe it could never survive your knowledge that not that long ago, humans created a place called Auschwitz?

Perhaps we go even further back in time, to the 300 year-long Atlantic Slave Trade, an age when Westerners chose to sacrifice innocence for wealth and empire?

We can see that George Floyd’s murder did not signal a loss of innocence. Well, not unless you innocently imagine your 21st century police to be Dixon of Dock Green with tasers. George Floyd’s murder was a symbol, a reality, a truth, an exposure, and a line in the sand.

Every adult person must now decide for themselves which side of that line they are on. And it is a very thin line – there is no standing in the middle of it.

For international educationalists the line now appears very stark. We cannot, nor should not, claim ignorance or simply lack of (self)knowledge.

Yes, we White educationalists might claim ‘unconscious bias’. If so, just be aware that unconscious bias has a conscious origin, one which arises when unquestioned material privilege translates into unquestioned material entitlement. 

For White straight Western males, the group that has always, and continues to, numerically and discursively dominate international schooling, unconscious bias is a tenuous defence in a world where innocence has disappeared as fast as Covid-19 virus has spread.

In truth, no self-respecting international educationalist can rightfully claim either innocence or ignorance. You must be the protector. Alert to the fact that too many humans have a predatory and aggressive character. Alert to the implicit racism which festers behind much of the international school rhetoric, exemplified by the term, ‘native English-speaking teacher’. And alert, as Danau Tanu argues, to the lame excuse presented by international school leaders when asked why their school is dominated by white teachers and managers, that “it’s what our parents expect.”

If we educationalists are serious about our profession, the task we have set ourselves, then we are 100% anti-racist, determinedly anti-sexist (pro-feminist), LGBTQ supportive and, not least, aware of our own personal relationship to these identities. In other words, we recognise our privileges and seek not to translate those privileges into personal entitlement but into improving the world around us.

That is the pact we have made with ourselves and with those we educate.

To clarify that pact and define the task facing every international school in this age of uncertainty if not turmoil, we suggest that there can be no compromise on protecting diversity, enabling equity, and ensuring inclusivity. This is the only sure way to safeguard every member of a school’s learning community.

In short, the time has come to embrace ‘Total Inclusivity’ and to be brave and determined enough to put it into practice.

Defining Total Inclusivity

Total Inclusivity’ is recognised as both the starting point and ultimate objective for every aspect of a school’s delivery and mission.

It is central to the notion of a ‘learning community’, underpins the school’s operational policies and practices, informs the curriculum design and delivery, nourishes the organisational culture, and creates the foundation upon which a school can confidently claim to be ‘safeguarding’ both students and staff.

By pursuing a ‘Total Inclusivity’ model, the school clearly demonstrates a commitment to recognising, valuing, protecting and nurturing diverse identities, regardless of race, gender, sexuality and class.

It is essential that any school, but especially those purporting to create ‘global citizens’ and ‘the leaders of tomorrow’, adopt an uncompromising, self-aware and sensitive approach to diversity, both of students and staff. This objective can only be achieved by embedding Total Inclusivity into every level of a school’s operation thereby ensuring the security, wellbeing and potential of all participants in that ‘learning community’.

  • School owners must recognise and support it.

  • Parents must recognise and support it.

  • School leaders must recognise and support it.

  • Every teacher must recognise and support it.

  • Every member of staff must recognise and support it.

  • And every student must be educated to recognise and support it.

In short, every ‘stakeholder’ in the school must recognising that diversity is a fact, it is a right, and it is an important resource.

Total Inclusivity will enable a school climate wherein trust, empathy, security, reflexivity, awareness, well-being and safety prevail. That must be what international schools are for, what all educational institutions are for. And achieving this takes precedence over all other aspects of education, teaching and learning.

Anything less is no longer acceptable. The times we are in demand it.

Join the voices for change – be more than an educationalist, be an advocate for a better world.

. . .

Total Inclusivity Training

For those interested in the theme of diversity, you may want to join one of the new ‘Total Inclusivity’ workshops being offered by Dr Whitehead, Sapphira Beaudin and Angeline Aow.

Details are available here.


TOTAL INCLUSIVITY:  Influencers and the Moral Maze

By Dr Stephen Whitehead

Susan Yin on Unsplash

The Jesuits have a saying: “give me the child for the first seven years and I’ll give you the man.”

When I first heard that maxim back in the early 1970s I was impressed. My wife and I were friends with an older couple who’d sent their two boys to Stonyhurst Jesuit College in the north of England, and there was no doubt they’d chosen Stonyhurst precisely for that reason – to turn their young boys into ‘men’.

But back then I was uneducated and naive, having left school seven years earlier at the age of 14. For me the grand, imposing portals of Stonyhurst College reeked of privilege, exclusivity, power and centuries of British class history. Who wouldn’t wish to submit their children to such an education – if they could afford it?

When I read that quote today it simply instils in me fear and trepidation, not least for the children required to endure to it.

In the ensuing five decades I have transformed from a callow, uneducated youth all too easily impressed by class status and money, to a wrinkled 70-something sociologist, trained to smell rancid ideology from a distance and spot its manifestation in uncritical human assumptions.

It has been a long journey, one that shows little sign of slowing down….

…to continue reading please download the full journal:

Download the EDDi Diversity Special


FREE BOOK CHAPTER

The free introduction chapter from International Schooling: The Teacher’s Guide is available here. If you sign-up to access the chapter we will let you know when the finished book is available - October, hopefully.


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