Consciously diverse vs unconsciously biased: Exploring a Diverse and Inclusive Ethical Curriculum
During this global pandemic, the whole world and our schools have changed and new strategies for teaching and learning need to emerge. At a time when there is considerable debate regarding definitions of identity and belonging, custodians of both culture and education have a tremendous responsibility to engage meaningfully with young people and their communities. Alarming results from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (UK) report Reflecting Realities-Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature published 2020 showed a lack of representation of characters from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.
Technology is also an area to explore as the more we engage with AI the more our bias and stereotypes are highlighted and the inability of facial recognition software to recognise all people is alarming. AI programming is another area that needs consideration, as is Gaming where racial profiling is rampant therefore students should be informed about these topics so they realise the flaws. How do you connect the communities in a school when much of the learning is virtual?
Online learning challenges us to look beyond Youtube, animations and interactive worksheets.
Our focus for this presentation will be Curriculum Cultivation, how to create a safe learning environment in which to explore and value diverse experiences and perspectives. Using the Harbord & Khan Ethical Model© we will demonstrate how ethical dilemmas can be used within curriculum to address real world issues and explore multiple histories, stories and perspectives. We will present a range of examples from our ethical, inclusive curriculum books, Interdisciplinary Thinking for Schools: Ethical Dilemmas MYP 1, 2 & 3 and Interdisciplinary Thinking for Schools: Ethical Dilemmas MYP 4 & 5 (Harbord & Khan, 2020).
Our curriculum gives students a voice to address ethical issues and explore new ways of solving old problems. It also offers teachers opportunities to choose what suits their particular student needs. All the content in this publication can be used for online learning. The units of work we will explore are interdisciplinary and focus on inclusion and global vision for a better world through students inquiry and developing creative solutions to real life problems. We advocate the use of diverse visuals as an essential tool for students and have consciously chosen artworks and photographs which support this approach; it is imperative that students must see themselves and their communities represented to have a feeling of self worth.
More than ever now students and communities need the skills to be self-sufficient and also collaborate. How do all the school stakeholders address the building of a school community that respects both diversity and inclusion as evidenced in both the traditional curriculum and the hidden curriculum? It is through a curriculum that focuses on multiple histories,stories and perspectives. It is increasingly vital that the diverse and inclusive values of School Philosophy (Missions, Visions and Values) are embedded into a flexible curriculum and our ethical approach can support this integration.