We were delighted to welcome so many of our community to our online conference last weekend, including delegates from over 20 nations who were present to listen to our fantastic speakers.
Our theme ‘Including All’ was chosen to reflect conversations that have been going on in communities across the world, and it was wonderful to hear the thought leadership and lived experience from the practitioners, teachers and academics who generously gave us their expertise and their time.
Here are some of the recurring themes that our speakers brought to the day:
Ubuntu: ‘I am, because we are’ – we are all connected
There was a real emphasis on the interconnectedness that we have as individual human beings, with each other and our environment. We exist in relationship with each other within communal, social frameworks that we can effect and impact, and which effect and impact us.
Inclusion is a process
Inclusion is not a one-time activity that we ‘do’ and ‘complete’. It is a process over time which encourages continual collaboration and the development and expansion of relationships, and we can all promote inclusion.
I am an agent of change
We were invited to reflect on what it is in an environment that makes us feel welcome, included and able to thrive? What is the ‘flavour’ of inclusion, and how might we create this in our schools? What one thing can I do, however small, to support and foster a community of inclusion? And within this, what are my own biases and assumptions? The practice of mindfulness helps us identify and come to terms with our own cultural backgrounds and experiences.
Walk gently with others to go further
And then, how can I work with others to support them becoming a better friend to themselves for the good of our whole community? When we emphasise our common humanity, we can normalise diverse experience and reduce self-criticism, shame, fear and prejudice, and help promote inclusion. We can bring kindness and compassion to that work to have more impact on our journey.
Identify barriers to participation
Inclusion is concerned with the identification and removal of contextual barriers to participation. By adopting a ‘quizzical social mindfulness’ we may become more aware of our own social conditioning and preferences, and be better able to see social and political norms that create and preserve exclusive monocultures. Let’s notice and interrupt dominant powers that lead to suffering.…
Create safe spaces for dialogue
By creating spaces where we can really engage in dialogue with each other. When we successfully encourage individuals to participate and engage, where their voices are valued, heard and included, we can develop authentic relationships with the young people and adults in our schools.
Co-learning through co-creation
Let’s also recognise that we must learn too. Adults in schools can, and must, also learn from their students. This can be achieved by co-creating lessons, activities, and being in dialogue with children and young people to develop a unifying language and to connect with all members of the community.
Bridging the gaps between people and cultures
Mindfulness can help us move from ‘me’ to ‘we’, bridging social differences and creating alliances and shared experiences. It sits outside differences of religion, class, gender, sexual preferences and other social divides as a tool, accessible to all people from all backgrounds and traditions.
Release from the powers of habit and conditioning
Mindfulness brings ancient wisdom that enables us to become aware of our habits and our conditioning, and release us from the power they have over us. This enables us to promote and protect the value and dignity of each individual.
Conference slides and videos will be available for free for all Hub members.
Join us at our Guest Workshops to hear more from some of our speakers.