School Improvement Episode 46: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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Thanks for downloading this podcast from Teacher magazine – I’m Jo Earp. In a Teacher’s Bookshelf article last month, we shared an exclusive extract from Becoming a Totally Inclusive School: A Guide for Teachers and School Leaders, written by Angeline Aow, Sadie Hollins and Stephen Whitehead. In this episode of School Improvement, I’m joined by 2 of the authors, Angeline and Sadie, who are based in Germany and the UK. We’ll be talking about what we mean by Total Inclusivity, and taking a closer look at the Continuum on Becoming a Totally Inclusive School – that’s a framework to help schools and educators move from theory to practice. There are 6 stages of the continuum and we’ll be going through each, thinking about what that might look like in a school and what the next steps could be to move to the next stage. At various points you may here us mention DEI or DEIJ – that’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Jo Earp: Angeline and Sadie, thanks for joining us here at Teacher. Now before we look at what schools and educators can do to improve and some examples as well. Why did you want to write this book?

Sadie Hollins: Yeah. So, I mean we've, we've both come into it from slightly different angles. I was kind of introduced to Angeline by Stephen Whitehead. And at the time I was writing a lot around wellbeing. And I was also kind of on my own journey about inclusion in terms of LGBTQ because of my own identity. I thought I was kind of coming into this project to build PHSE resources but it actually turned into something like a lot, lot cooler. And that's because of Angeline.

Angeline Aow: And I was very grateful, too, to be introduced to Sadie and the 2 of us, our skill sets complemented each other well. And our main goal with the book is really to support educators with a really challenging mission, which is to improve how we can be more inclusive. And I think in the past, being inclusive has been interpreted as supporting learners who have learner variability and who have, you know, learning difficulties or supporting physical, intellectual and social and emotional needs.

Whereas (and I started teaching in the state system in New South Wales, in Australia), where I, you know, I believe [inaudible] graduate student who was put into a full-time job in a school in Sydney – but I was the only teacher of colour there…Meanwhile, my classroom was full of what we know as, you know, multicultural Australia. And then as my career moved into international schools, the mix of nationalities and students were of course you know also very much amplified. But, being surrounded by difference doesn't necessarily mean that we're equipped with bridging the gaps between differences and knowing really how to deal with them.

And so, this book is really attempting to bring together foundational understandings and helping educators with starting points to help inspire perhaps action from wherever you are on your journey. Whether you're just beginning this, or whether you have been thinking about being more inclusive for quite a long time. And, you know, with Sadie’s kind of more academic theoretical expertise and us delving into trying to bridge this gap really between theory and the research out there and practice. And so really practical things that you can do to help you move this very important piece of becoming totally inclusive into practice.

JE: So, I want to start off with a definition then. So, in the book you write: ‘Total Inclusivity means recognising, valuing, protecting and nurturing diverse identities, including those of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, age, religion and language. If you recognise the inherent worthiness of that intention, if it speaks to both your heart and your head, then you are on your way to being an advocate for Total Inclusivity and have taken a step towards becoming a Totally Inclusive School.’ So, I just want to go back over those keywords again: recognising, valuing, protecting and nurturing.

AA: I think that, for me, the recognition part is something I came to understand, you know, when I came to becoming an adult. I'm a migrant; my background is as a Chinese Australian and my family migrated to Sydney when I was 9 years old. And at that time, you know, we hear in Australia things like ‘tolerance’ – the campaign to be more tolerant was really prominent at that time and my family and I assimilated into the culture there. And it wasn't until I looked back in my schooling experience did I realise that who I am wasn't really recognised very well in the education system. And so, well, just that initial stage of recognition I feel like is a way of us really opening our eyes to: What is society like in in practice? Because schools are a reflection of society and society hasn't always been treating every individual equally, and neither do schools. And if we believe in diversity, we need to truly support it.

And that goes into the valuing part; we need to value all the identities that are coming and entering our school doors and school gates. Because inclusion work is safeguarding work, and that goes into that protecting word. Right? So, we need to be able to protect all of the identities that walk into the door, because every learner deserves to be nurtured (and hence nurturing) and because every learner deserves to be nurtured in a safe, supportive environment where they can thrive.

JE: And we know that the safe and supportive environment is exactly that – where they do the best, you know, they do their best, they achieve the best in terms of wellbeing, not just academic achievement, but wellbeing as well. In that quote that I read out, you mentioned advocates, and for those educators who are who are listening, thinking ‘that's not for me’ or ‘that's not for us’ because ‘hey, it doesn't affect us’ you give this reminder in the book as well: ‘We all know that it's easier to advocate for change when something directly affects us, but we also know that for change to be meaningful and long lasting, it needs to involve everyone.’

SH: Yeah. No, I mean absolutely. Like Angelina's touched upon, work around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice is safeguarding work and we talk about it in the book in the Safeguarding chapter. You know, like child protection policies have been well established but they tend to focus on certain types of abuse or neglect; what we fail to, or I think what we've historically failed to do, is protect from identity-based harm…that falls under child protection and that involves every single person in the school. You know, if you've only got a couple of people responsible for child protection and it's no one else's responsibility, then those students aren't safe. And I think that's exactly the same for work around DIEJ as well.

AA: And to add a little bit onto what Sadie is saying – to be an advocate, some of you may not feel like that might be you and I think that's because a lot of us, you know, we want to keep the peace, we want to go along to get along. And that really is why assimilation works, because everyone's trying to assimilate to keep the peace and to be happy and just don't get on with thing. Because, you know, yeah, essentially all students, they just want to learn and teachers, we just want to teach, right? But that doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't exist – it does. And whether it be ranging from microaggressions that we hear, or really like outward, inappropriate or racist comments … and so I think that if you are one of these people who think that ‘that doesn't apply to me’, maybe then please read our book and, you know, examine also your own privilege. Because, if you've gone through your whole career not thinking about this, then you're likely to have been in a very privileged position and you benefit from the way the current system is set up.

And as I mentioned before, schools are a reflection of society, and society is not a place where all people have had equitable access due to structural inequalities…some of which we list in that definition – thinking about class, disability, age, religion, etc. And so, depending on what you've come into, you know, you've not always specifically been welcomed. Like, my first ever job in Sydney there was a teacher who actually said out loud in the staff room ‘well, if you've come to Australia, then we're a Christian society, then you know you need to…value that’. Why is it that we should have valued that above others, and other things? Mind you, this was in the early 2000s, I started teaching in 2000. But then again, that was only 23 years ago, and so we still have a long way to go. And I think that whilst we've made a lot of progress, both in Australia and elsewhere, I think that we still have a lot of progress to make.

JE: So, we've looked at, we've talked a little bit about the definition and some of background to the ‘why?’ if you like. But a reminder, you know, this is just a podcast, we're going to be scratching the surface, really. So, I'd encourage people to have a good look at the book because there's so much information in there in the early chapters about all of this and more.

But, well let's move on to have a look at these 6 stages then. You've created a framework to help schools move from the theory of, you know, the ‘why?’ and the theory of what they’re doing, to the practice. It's called the Continuum on Becoming a Totally Inclusive School. It's there to help individuals and institutions identify where they are, to be able to pinpoint where they are on 6 stages of development. So, we're going to go through each of the 6 stages – it might be a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but we will talk about what that might look like in terms of practice. The first stage then is Discriminatory, you call that, An Inequitable Institution. What might this look like then, and what might the next steps be in terms of moving out of this lowest stage?

SH: Just to kind of preface this…the continuum was a creation of Angeline’s and I have to give full credit because, when I looked at the continuum when we were writing the book that was really powerful for me. So I think it will be really of help to others. In saying these kind of descriptions of the different stages, I think it's also, like we mentioned in the book, it's important to recognise that your school might not look like any one thing – you might be at several stages at once. But I think kind of giving that overview is quite helpful for what it could look like or what sort of things you might tend to see.

So, at Stage 1 is the Discriminatory or the Inequitable stage; and that's very much where identities are excluded that don't fit into the norm of that particular school. So that might not be overtly done, but it could be like much more covertly done. So whether that's you're seeing the hiring of staff with certain passports or only hiring staff that are native speakers. Even if it's not, you know, putting it in job adverts, you're seeing that trend done in the school. It very much is a school that dismisses divergent thinking and polices tone around conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. And there is often retribution for staff members that speak out at this point. And I think something that you see in international schools (and having not come from an Australian context, I can't speak to that) you know, they are really transient places, so you're looking at 1-3-year contracts. And often staff members that are speaking up in discriminatory institutions, that contract renewal is a point where they might not get their contracts, you know, renewed for speaking up. I think at this stage there's often difficulty admitting there's a problem and that there's no real plans for the school to address anything around DEIJ.

JE: So, the second stage then is Exclusive, that's what you've termed ‘A Tokenistic Institution’. So, you know, there might be some efforts made there, but it’s token efforts at this stage. Again, what kind of things are we talking about and is there anything that schools should be looking at to get themselves out of that?

SH: Yeah, sure, so in the Tokenistic stage, there are often maybe ‘model’ minorities welcome. So, you'll see appointment of certain staff of diverse identities, but they may often assimilate into the culture. And I preface that by saying that sounds kind of intentional, but often when we assimilate that's often out of self-protection because we're all worrying what would happen if we don't assimilate. And I think that's part of the piece to recognise. You could see a bit of an ‘old boys club’ at the school. Something that you know, I think, I've had conversations with teachers, and I've seen myself in in schools like this, local students particularly will hear staff members implying negative connotations about that home culture. So, whether that's criticising the way things are done and saying like ‘this would never happen in X country’ or whatever it is; it’s very much often privileging a Western culture and kind of devaluing the native and home culture in comparison to that.

And at this stage, I think there could be token efforts. So maybe you've got staff members that are given some space to do work around DEIJ, but that's often quite micromanaged, and there's very much, maybe an agenda put out about what DEIJ work can be done and what can't be done. So, in terms of next steps at that stage – sorry, to speak to Stage 1, you might be looking at some sort of implicit bias training. So, kind of getting some of the foundational concepts and shared understanding within the community and looking at the policies. For Stage 2, you're looking to update those policies and maybe getting help from outside to help you move forward. So, whether that's working with a consultant in the area. And I think Angeline's mentioned this…in the book, but to move beyond (I thought this is really, powerful), like ‘flags, food, fashion and festivals’ – so, those kinds of tokenistic efforts. You know, to say that you have one day or one festival to celebrate cultures that are in your schools every day, you know, that's tokenistic in in every sense of the word.

JE: The third stage, then, so on from that Exclusive stage, that's called Symbolic Change – so, starting to make something of an impact. But that stage you've termed ‘A Contradictory Institution’. So, I guess the title says it all! But can you give some examples of what may be happening and again how can schools look to take some next steps out of that?

SH: Yeah, no, absolutely. So, like you mentioned Jo there are some intentional efforts – so, maybe the school is actively seeking to hire people of colour. But in that stage, whilst there's those efforts, perhaps that's not sustained. At this stage you're really looking to move beyond these kind one-off efforts, these tokenistic efforts, and to really start making a sustainable change. So, you know, why it's contradictory is maybe there's time given to PD around DEIJ, but there's no expectation of follow up – that that's going to be enacted within the school. So, it's touched upon, but it's not moved forward. Schools at the stage, maybe they are doing the right thing… even that's kind of problematic in itself in terms of doing the right thing, but that they are going along with regulatory changes that they, you know, need to include. Updates to policies and things like that, but you know, like that's one thing but actually doing that work and actually enacting that changes school is a very different thing.

In terms of some next steps – maybe for schools to prioritise funding around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion so it's not one-off workshops or it's not a consultant that just comes in on a one-off basis, that you're really working over that long-term. You see this as well in international schools there's a high turnover of headteachers and you think to really make a change…I mean this, you know, discriminatory practice has been happening since we've known schools, right? You can't change that in a year. So, you need to be planning, you know, 3-5 years in advance, and what that change will look like when those teachers, when those leaders, move on…that has to be sustained. At this Stage, engaging board members – it goes beyond the school, it's everyone in that community and especially those that have quite a lot of influence within the school. And I think it's to increase accountability measures and to measure what you're doing in the school. Like I’ve said, if there's no follow-up from some of the work being done, how do you know it's making a difference and how do you know where you need to go?

You’re listening to an episode of School Improvement from Teacher. We’ll be back with Sadie and Angeline to discuss the next 3 stages of the continuum, after this quick message from our sponsor.

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JE: So, there are 6 stages on this continuum. We're up to stage 3 – moving into the better half. The fourth stage then is Embracing – that’s An Embracing Institution. So, we're starting to see some real acceptance and some action which as you were saying, Sadie, often you know you're saying you're having meetings about it, but nothing's actually done. So, what might be happening in Stage 4 then, at maybe an educator level, maybe a leadership level, maybe a school structure level, and, again, how do schools move out of this into Stage 5?

AA: Thanks Jo, for also mentioning that this is like, you know, sort of the better half of the continuum. I think that…I mean, all stages of the continuum really do have its good points, in a way, and even at the very end where if you're in the Exclusive stage – if that's the type of school you are, and that's your school's mission and vision, then you need to recognise that. But there's still things you can do within that stage. And so, within every stage one can take next steps and make progress. But this fourth stage is, I feel like it's when you've passed the tipping point of commitment. And because the first 3 stages…it's kind of like that Paula Abdul song, you know, where you’ve got to take a few steps forward and you make a few steps back. As you mentioned, there's a bit of that ‘equity warrior’ – kind of one person who's, you know, championing this.

But at the fourth stage where it's really embracing, you have, the majority of your school community are all on board. And to get to that stage it’s really very significant, because like the name suggests everyone has embraced this concept. And then we are really able to make significant strides I feel, because school leaders are supporting this, there's a budget for this, it's getting time on your meeting schedule (whereas it's not like sort of just thought as the last thing to be put on). And people are seeing this more as not just another add-on, but something that is…like a lot of people say ‘well, I can't do Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I've got so many other things…’ which is true, schools are very busy places. But it's recognition that this work isn't something being added onto the plate, but it's the plate itself. It's going to be the foundational thing that's going to hold and enhance everything else that you do.

And so, at this really embracing stage, people are looking for differentiated professional learning – because there's going to be many people at different points of understanding with many different topics. We need to kind of ensure that safeguarding measures don't just apply to the learners, our students, but also to the adult learners in the building. Because I think that sometimes at this stage people are becoming more vocal about what's not working, and so we also need to be protected as educators to know that whatever it is we're dissenting about, then we're not going to have retaliation come on to us.

So, I feel like at this stage when we're really embracing it, we're embracing conflict also because we're embracing the way in which we are challenging each other to do things better systemically for our students. Which means we're going to change the things that we've been doing and that have been existing for quite a long time already in our schools. And in order to make changes, it's going to push us out of our comfort zone at this stage, because we're going to have to be forced to change some routines, or rethink how we do certain things. Like, if I'm assessing students the way I've always assessed students and that has, you know, favoured a certain student or a way of learning. And this is actually going to be harder work to do, because I'm going to have to really differentiate how I do that, with different considerations for maybe if I've had a newly-arrived student who doesn't speak a lot of English; what kind of the infrastructure am I going to have to put into my classroom? Or the different way in which I'm assessing. Which, a lot of people will say ‘oh, it's much harder work’ and it is at this Embracing stage because it's a recognition that we need to continuously learn together as a community and engage in that professional inquiry to really seek understanding and, together with students and with our colleagues, to co-construct practices that are going to be more equitable.

JE: I love that image there of, you know, it's not something extra on the plate, it's the plate itself. I really love that. And yeah, you often hear that, don't you ‘it's just another bolt-on’, but it's embedding it and it's making it part of the foundations; and just outside our comfort zone, that's where all the best things happen, I reckon. So, this sounds like an exciting stage. We're on to Stage 5 then. We're getting up to 2 highest levels here. This one's called Structural Change. You've labeled this a ‘Transforming Institution’ – so, there may still be discrimination at this level (and I'm guessing that's the case with all the levels), but what might be happening, in terms of an educator point of view and a structural point of view? And then, you know it's Stage 5, but where do you go to from here? What could the next steps be?

AA: For me, I feel like this stage is where we're looking not just at changing mindsets and behaviours anymore – that's already there, because it's all of the humans in the building who are making the decisions about what goes into our structures and the policies and practices and how we enact them. And even if you're working in an institution where kind of policies are handed down to you by, you know, a department or say like an organisation that's in charge of a group of schools – but even within those, it's how we enact them that is going to uphold any institution.

And so, in a Structural Change stage, I feel like schools are making bold moves here and really trying to strive to develop and implement policies, procedures and practices that will result in resources being accessible to all the learners. And this may mean that not everyone gets the same thing. Because we're all not the same, right? And so, if we truly value diversity, we're thinking about distributing resources equitably and not equally, right? And so that requires a different way of thinking and a way to transform what we do. Because I feel like a lot of the times backlash or, you know, barriers that we have towards really transforming as an institution is a lot of us hanging on to this whole ‘is that fair?’ or ‘is that not fair?’ Well, you know, sorry to break it to you, but society isn't really fair for everyone to begin with. And so for things to actually be fair, we actually need to offer different things in our school to different groups of people in our school.

And so this Transforming Institution is where I feel like you know really actionable steps is to critically examine through the collection of data and to think about…what is your constitution in your school? What do your demographics tell you, what is the actual need here? And to identify that and then to co-construct together, with the community, how you might be addressing that in your institution. And I think that kind of cycle of critical examination and then co-construction is where the answer lies, which is also where our book is not going to tell you; it's not a recipe, there's no silver bullet here because every school community is different and the answers to this lies in your school community.

And so here, that's why we call it the Structural Change, it’s really Transforming Institutions – you need to look at how can we critically transform, and opportunities led by internal advocates in your schools so that, so that whatever transformation is being made, it's going to be sustained.

JE: So back to that sustainability again, rather than just a few champions. Stage 6 then; we've reached the top of the continuum. This one, unsurprisingly, you've called Totally Inclusive. This is ‘An Equitable and Just Institution’. So, this is the goal really. What does that look like in practice? And I was thinking, it's important to mention that it's not all sort of roses – there are still challenges there and, you know, there will be things that happen – but I guess it's being able to identify those and overcome them in the right way, then?

AA: Absolutely, I think that one important aspect of this stage is that sustainability that you mentioned and thinking about how can we maintain it, because that's really hard, right? But hopefully then you have collective capacity at your school at this point where you hold yourself to account to keep learning and to keep thinking about how we can, you know, evolve as a just and equitable institution and also to hold each other to account, right? So, it's something where accountability is a part of the norm and not seen as a ‘scary’ thing. Because I think sometimes when we mention the word accountability, people think of, you know, being reprimanded for something. But it's not that – I feel like accountability has gotten a bad reputation, but in actual fact it's more thinking about ‘Oh, I made a mistake there’ and, you know, I work in this field, but I make mistakes all the time. But I need to be able to take responsibility for that and think about: Well, how can I grow and also take responsibility for possible harm which I may have caused?

And so, at this stage, in order to maintain things we have to have a culture of accountability and a culture of doing and a culture of thinking about what next steps. And it’s not a utopia at this stage. Because if harmony actually exists at this stage, then we actually need to question that because then maybe we've fallen back into a place where people are just trying to go along and get along again and we're not actually, you know, embracing our diverse opinions, viewpoints, that's going to help push us forward. And so I think that at this stage, the challenge is really to sustain the practices and thinking about the mechanisms that are working for us and to uphold the culture that values diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice at all levels of governance, leadership all the way down to valuing student voice in our classrooms and learner agency. I think that having voice, choice and ownership is something that will be very prevalent at this stage because everyone will feel like they have a sense of belonging.

JE: Now we've taken a very quick tour through those 6 stages there. There's of course much more information in the book (that’s the Continuum on Becoming a Totally Inclusive School within the book). Some good examples there of what practice and structures may look like and what schools can do to improve at each stage. And I'm thinking, I’m going back to, you know, the comment I made earlier – maybe there's some listeners, they're saying ‘this is not us’, ‘this is not for us’. Maybe now they're starting to go ‘alright’, ‘okay’. So, for schools who do want to improve, I guess the first step is starting to do some kind of self-assessment of where they are, or what would you suggest?

AA: Well, the continuum itself is a self-assessment and it's one that will be based on your current perceptions. And you can enter the continuum in 2 ways. One is to just use the continuum, have a dialogue around it. Educators who have read the book, often are saying, that’s the first thing that they will go to; they'll say ‘Okay, as soon as I read it, I wanted to share the continuum with my colleague’ or ‘…with my leadership team’. Because the continuum is divided into the behaviours and mindsets that exist or don't exist at certain stages, and also the systems and structures that may or may not be in place at certain stages. And so, when you're looking at that, it makes you think about ‘oh, hang on, I thought my school was doing pretty well’ or ‘hang on, I thought my school was doing really badly’ but then you're able to place where your school may be in terms of growth. And even that act itself helps you kind of identify ‘oh, what might be missing? But, I'm not too sure’ And then that question then, or that curiosity that hopefully it sparks, will determine ‘what do I really want to find out more data about?’ And that's that other assessment piece to think about ‘Okay, well maybe I need to either host a listening circle around this because I'm not too sure’, or ‘maybe I need to develop a survey, or to use a survey that's already out there that has been externally validated to help me identify aspects that I'm not seeing.

And other people have approached the continuum because they already have a culture survey or a survey that they use with the school, and it has brought up certain aspects that they already have identified that they want to improve on, but they're not quite sure how to start, or what to do. And then they go to the continuum after they have that information, and that information helps them place where they are, feel they are on the continuum itself.

And so, I feel like the continuum is merely a starting point or a midpoint, and hopefully something you'll revisit because it's a continuum of growth. So, if you only use it once, then you're identifying one point, but hopefully you'll revisit it to see ‘okay, have I actually moved to the next stage?’ Because the continuum is something that you need to revisit as an assessment tool in order for it to be effective. So yeah, sorry, a big, long answer to your one question about assessment, but hopefully that's been helpful.

JE: No, you've kind of answered part of my next question, which was about where to start. But I think the better question actually thinking about is…we've talked a lot about, you know, being outside our comfort zone and challenging things and being advocates and being willing to stand up. What about those people who are listening, they know they’re the only person there who's kind of wanting to be an advocate for this, or maybe they think they are, that's probably the best way to put it. They think the kind of the only person who wants to be an advocate for this? What could they be doing? Firstly to make them feel themselves feel a little bit better, I guess, but, you know, is there any kind of action that can be taken? Is it about trying to get more like-minded people who also want to advocate? Or what would you suggest?

SH: You know, I've spoken to teachers in that situation where you feel like you might be the only one and I think I'm not looking kind of institution-wise – I think Angeline will definitely be able to speak more to that – but I think there are groups out there online, like affinity groups or spaces where you can come together, that is a source of support for educators doing this work. And I think it's helpful to maybe meet other teachers that have similarly experienced the same thing. And I think that's helpful to see…I think: One, on that personal journey, how they are managing and navigating that and what they've done? And I think, to speak to that…we as educators, we can control within a certain degree what happens in our classroom, so we can still have an impact on the students that we work with day in, day out. So just because we're not, you know, the school isn't at that point where we're able to move forward, you're still having a huge impact on the students. But I think those groups are good for that personal level of support, because you know you do come up against resistance and it is difficult work, and I think that we need to have those conversations as well.

JE: Yeah, that’s a good point.

AA: Yeah, and also in Chapter 10 of the book we write a little bit about change management, because this work is social change work. You know, we're asking educators and the whole school community really to examine [the] culture of your school – so there’s this microcosm of society that we all have that is unique, each school has a unique culture, but it's also embedded within the larger society it's in, right? And so, when we're thinking about change, one of the aspects of our total inclusivity change components model talks about how if something is missing – and I think, you know, if you're missing commitment; so, you know, you might be the only one who's committed in your school, but the rest of your colleagues you might feel, is missing commitment, then what you end up having is competition to this work. Right? Because there are many competing priorities and then this is often…because quite often people will…it's hard to argue that, like, ‘oh, I don't want to keep kids safe’. You know, like, really? You know, we all love to believe that we're good people, right? But there's a lot of competing priorities in the school. And so, if you have an absence of that commitment and that individual buy-in from all of your community members, then you need to think about ‘Okay, are we actually living out our school's mission?’ Because every school has a mission and vision where we want all our learners to thrive…that's what it boils down to.

And so I think that going back to those basics of: What does our school stand for? And what do we actually mean by this? And really challenging that at every point. And I know that it can be hard if you don't have power or positionality in your institution. So, if you kind of think ‘oh I'm just a mere teacher’…you know, when I first started I was like ‘I just teach grade 6, I don't want to rock the boat here’. But you know that somewhere along the line your values are being compromised here because you want to enact something different in this space…with the power and position that you have. And so you're going to feel frustration, because you don't have the resources to move forward. And then that's another aspect of this change model. So, if we have frustration, then we might need different resources to help us move forward, or if we have this engagement, then how can we elevate learner agency amongst us as adults, as learners within that?

And so there's going to be a lot of feelings that come out with this work and educators have found that our Change Components Model has ‘helped us think about the reasons for why we feel this way’ and then offer a path forward for that. So, if I'm feeling frustrated it may be because I'm missing some resources. Or if I'm feeling disengagement, it might be because I need to elevate learner agency. Or if I'm feeling anxiety about things, it might be because I don't might not have the skills yet, or the mindsets to help me move this work forward yet. Right? And so, we need to think about what the reasons are, because the reasons should not be excuses for not moving this work forward. And that's a big difference – between reasons and excuses – and so if we know the reasons, then we can take that journey and first step in addressing them.

JE: That's brilliant. I love that as well, the difference between reasons and excuses, that one's going to stay with me as well. So, thank you, thank you for that. That's been fantastic speaking to you both today. There's some really useful information. I've really enjoyed the conversation. There's lots of examples there and there’s tons more information, like I say, in the book. The book itself is called Becoming a Totally Inclusive School: A Guide for Teachers and School Leaders, written by Angeline Aow, Sadie Hollins and Steven Whitehead. Angeline and Sadie, thanks again for sharing your expertise with Teacher.

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In this podcast, Angeline Aow says it’s helpful for teachers and leaders to go back to basics and ask: What does our school stand for? And what do we actually mean by this? What would the answer to those questions be for your own school? How does that relate to the issues we’ve discussed in this episode around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice?