Skip to main content

Leading Diversity and Ethics in Education

As society becomes more diverse, educators will require the ability to develop, foster and lead ethical and democratic educational contexts.

Australia is an ethnically diverse society. One in four Australian residents were born outside of Australia and have entered as a migrant or refugee. Australia in its present state is only young with many Australians being first or second generation Australians (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014).

This wide variety of backgrounds, together with the culture of our nation’s original inhabitants the Indigenous Australians, have facilitated a fusion of ethos; one that idyllically empowers existence, acceptance and promotion of a culturally diversity, tradition, multigenerational relationship and respectful of differences and individual uniqueness (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014).

The diversity of society has a dramatic impact on educational administrators, staff and student’s strengths, intellectual personality and productivity. Diversity in experience, age, culture, race, gender, physical ability, cognitive style, discipline and intellectual ability contribute to the richness and depth of the educational environment and offers students access to a scope of perspectives available in a dynamic knowledge building community.

At the ACEL Conference 2016, Kirk Zwangobani asked “Do leaders present a picture of the diversity of our communities or are they mono-cultural?” He went on to suggest that as we develop an attitude towards diversity which looks at the returns, it can prove to be a school’s asset in challenging dilemmas.

There is a vast and growing body of research providing evidence that a diversity within an educational setting is beneficial (Milem, 2003). It informs the development of a student by increasing their collaborative creativity, innovation, problem-solving and accepting relationships. However, diversity can bring its challenges, including frustration and challenge as stakeholders come from differing perspectives upon which they look at less than perfect dilemmas. These perspectives can be linked to unconscious assumptions, family of origin, religious, cultural or stylistic differences (Fine & Handelsman, 2010)

To counteract differences caused by diversity, a negotiated common understanding or standard is fundamental. In creating an atmosphere of value, care and respect participants are open to developing, fostering and leading ethical and democratic educational discussions where the maximum benefits from the diversity can be derived.

Fine, E., & Handelsman, J. (2010). Benefits and challenges of diversity in academic settings. Brochure prepared for the Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI), University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Milem, J. F. (2003). The educational benefits of diversity: Evidence from multiple sectors. Compelling interest: Examining the evidence on racial dynamics in higher education, 126-169.
Wilkie, M. (1997). Bringing them home: Report of the national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
Zwangobani, K. (2016) Addressing the impact of complex socio-cultural and political issues, such as multiculturalism and migration, on young people’s engagement with their education and community. A Fresh Perspective - Panel Discussion, Conference notes ACEL Conference 2016, Melbourne, 29 September 2016.

Popular posts from this blog

What does a post-industrial class look like? Part 2

This post is the second part of a series that I have been working on to identify what does a post-industrial class look like? In my previous post, I looked at using video, collaborative discussion, grouping and student-centred learning.

Why a large display and one to one? The large electronic display is used as it offers many benefits to a given lesson; these include demonstration and modelling as the teacher could showcase the application or video from the board (Moss, et al, 2007). It is easy to show the important features of particular web-based activities and have students interact with the material on their own devices. The board can accommodate different learning styles (Herrington & Harrington, 2006). Interactive boards can help tactile learners by touching and marking the board. Audio learners can have the class discussion and auditory multimedia, visual learners can see what is taking place as it develops at the board and it offers multimodal learning which can be tailored …

What is instructional leadership and why is it important for educational leaders?

School leaders matter for schools success (Hattie, 2012). It is universally acknowledged that effective leadership is an essential element in achieving school improvement (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1998; Hopkins, 2001). “At the heart of school capacity are principals focused on the development of teachers' knowledge and skills, professional community, program coherence, and technical resources” (Fullan, 2002, p16).

“The old model of formal, one-person leadership leaves the substantial talents of teachers largely untapped” (Lambert, 2002, p.37). This one-person theory of instructional leadership that was promerate in the years previous to 2000 (Hallinger & Heck, 1998). It was an archetype where the principal would lead from the front being across all levels of leadership (Spillane, Halverson & Diamond, 2001). However, with the increasing complexities of schools, the development of other philosophies of instructional leadership, which can be defined as the guidance or managemen…

How can Change Management be Enhanced by Reflective Practices?