As communities around the world become increasingly diverse, it is important that schools create an environment that values the various backgrounds, perspectives, and beliefs of children, families, and staff. Fostering a school environment that embraces diversity and inclusion is an ongoing practice that requires careful consideration of all aspects of an education setting—from the school policies to the curriculum and everything in between. Creating an inclusive space for all children to reach their full potential is also fundamental to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Education. Schools must recognize the specific needs of the children and communities they serve, and consider several strategies when building a more inclusive environment.
Joining us to discuss this important topic is Dr. Fawzia Reza, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at the American College of Education (Indianapolis, USA). In the interview linked below, Dr. Reza (brief professional bio posted below the video) provides valuable insight on a variety of topics related to building a more inclusive school and embracing diversity in staff, children, and families.
Some of the questions Dr. Reza addresses in the interview include:
- How can educators encourage children to embrace their own identities and abilities as well as the similarities and differences alike in their classmates?
- What are five things every educator should be doing in interactions with children and families to support diversity and inclusion?
- What elements do school leaders need to focus on to practice inclusive leadership and reflect the ideals of inclusion throughout the school environment?
Moments of reflection in the video allow viewers to imagine how the ideas Dr. Reza shares can impact their own learning environment. We encourage viewers to pause the video when the questions appear and consider each of them.
Throughout this summer, CE International will share more Expert Insight videos on relevant topics in education and child development. Each video is designed to highlight diverse professional perspectives to increase awareness of unique approaches to important topics.
Professional Bio of Dr. Fawzia Reza:
Dr. Fawzia Reza, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at the American College of Education, dedicates her work and research to issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and social justice. In her role as Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, she is tasked with developing initiatives that promote greater cultural competence within faculty and staff. She has published several articles on these topics and a 2015 book titled The Effects of the September 11 Terrorist Attack on Pakistani-American Parental Involvement in U.S. Schools. In 2019, Dr. Reza published a children’s book Mary and Her New Friends, which addresses themes related to South Asian culture and helps young children develop empathy for those with special needs. To learn more about Dr. Fawzia Reza and her work, please visit her website at https://www.fawziareza.org/
Access more Expert’s Insight: Jill McFarren Aviles on Diversity and Inclusion in the Early Years