I came across this sign last night while I was out for a walk. I looked up from my day dream to see these words in front of me: BE YOU BE HERE BELONG That is the very essence of inclusion: be you, be here, and belong✨ Inclusive communities do not fix people, they do not change people, and they do not exclude people. Rather, inclusive communities teach people, they educate people, they value people, they open their eyes & ears to people, and they include people. My tip to you as educators & organization leaders is to set out to connect with your students and your employees. Learn who they are by understanding their strengths, challenges, beliefs, interests, and perspectives. Use this understanding to build relationships and to guide a team of students or adults that is respective of the power of difference.
Inclusion and being inclusive are not something you do or a strategy you use like phonics or whole lanaguge. Rather, inclusive education or inclusive communities are an approach to how we act, how we think, and how we are. Often, we think about inlcusion as a way to include more vulnerable poplulations. However, when we think about including groups of people we are still thinking exclusively. You see, inclusion ought not to be about including people into 'our' community. Instead, it is about communities being built on the foundation of difference. Inclusion is an approach or a mindset that underpins our actions. Inclusive communities aim to reduce barriers by increasing access for all members- or potential members. Inclusion ensures all members are considered in the design and execution of community.
Again, my tip is for educators and organizations to think about things from various perspectives- not just your own. The easiest way to start to think differently is by connecting with other people. Connections, collabroation and relationships are a huge component of being inclusive.