What are the different forms of diversity you observe within the classroom and school?
Like Julie showed us school wall the students made, I found one in my school as well. Those ones are made by students and they can do tasks, read, write and daydream.
In my kindergarten class, the teacher uses a smartboard often especially for songs. All the songs are in French, and all of them have subtitles which really help me sing along because I don’t speak French. Also, the teacher always uses gestures when she speaks to students especially in French. I don’t understand what she says in French most of the time, however I can understand what she mentioned thanks to her gesture. Some students understand French almost perfect, but some are still in a beginner level. The teacher’s gesture helps every student understand what she says. Along with her gesture, she shows samples while she explains about crafts which is easier for students to understand because it is visible.
When I walk around school, I see older students work on their tasks in hallway. Some students are sitting, standing and lying down…whichever position they feel comfortable while working on tasks. I was never allowed to work on tasks in hallway in any position when I was in school, so I saw diversity there as well.
What may be some forms of diversity that are not visible?
I am amazed by my mentor not judging her students work. Some students struggle with their fine motor skill such as using scissors and pencils. Some are not good at making their work colourful and some can’t focus as long as other students can. Therefore, some crafts aren’t as ideal as adults expect from children. My mentor teacher seems to understand what each student can do and what they struggle with. For example, some students struggle writing their names correctly, and instead of judging, she writes them an example so they can copy, or she writes the names with highlighter so students can trace. She uses different methods for each student. Also, some students get distracted easily, so instead of yelling at them, she lets them stand or move around for a bit so they can focus again. My mentor teacher always sees her students’ best work not the “good” or “perfect” work.
In what ways do you observe the school, classrooms and teachers honouring inclusive practices?
I noticed there are a lot of options for students in the classroom. For example, there is a choice time for students to play in centres such as kitchen, dollhouse, cars, costume, colouring and so on. They can start with any centre and they need to move to a different centre after 10 minutes. The teacher added a lot of fine motor skill related items in each centre, so she doesn’t care which centre students go. Students have two centres to play each day so that they won’t get “stuck” in their most favorite centre.
Along with choices in centres, I see every student can show their talent in crafts. For instance, there are a lot different ideas and talent in pumpkin crafts. My mentor teacher lets students work on tasks with their original ideas.
In school, I see a lot of hokki stools and chairs that let students move while sitting.
The school also encourages students’ family members to volunteer as a helper along with a lot of education assistants in school. I believe having students’ family members as a volunteer is huge because it gives opportunities for teachers to have closer relationship with them and they can see the differences from the schools they used to attend.
How is your school community honouring diversity, equity, and human rights for all students (including sexual and gender diversity) within their schools and communities?
First thing I found on the wall in school was this quite attached below. The quote shows my school respects every student’s human right and who they are.
My teacher treats every student in a same way with welcoming body language; for example, she asks every student how they are at the beginning and ask why they are feeling that way. I believe students feel comfortable to show if they are sad or happy and explain why. At the end of the day, the teacher gives every student a hug with big smile. She really knows how to create a safe and welcoming environment for her students!!
When it comes to sexual and gender diversity, I could not find much in school, however; I found a few in classroom. One of the centres has dollhouse, dolls,cars, trucks, dinosaur figures and so on all combined which implies every gender is in one centre. Also, I noticed the teacher says “les amis” to students all the time. It means “friends” in English, and she told me she chooses the word because there is no inequity in it. I tend use “boys” “girls” and “ladies” to everyone and I’d never noticed that those words create gender inequity until my mentor teacher mentioned about it. Additionally, she told me she interrupts students when they say things such as “boy colour” or “girl’s table”. She tells them colours and tables are for everyone.