Diversity and inclusivity constitute a burning issue in higher education. Several research studies have shown the many benefits that diversity brings in many different situations. It has also been shown that embracing diversity, beneficial as it is, may not always be a natural thing to do as there is always a ‘hidden brain’ that functions on our individual implicit biases to inform decision-making processes of our unconscious persons, potentially, against the tenets of inclusivity. Discourse on ways of overcoming these implicit biases to make way for more inclusive pedagogical environments has abounded. In the thick of this discourse, a number of questions come to the fore: How long has it been known that inclusivity is beneficial? Whose duty is it to champion inclusivity? Is it good enough if one temporarily suspends their biases for the sake of creating a more inclusive pedagogical environment and then return to their original self afterwards? What can be done to ensure that inclusive pedagogy is more sustainable?
It would appear that knowledge on the benefits of diversity and inclusivity has been around for a long time. However, to this very day, embracing diversity remains a challenge not only in higher education institutions, but also in many others. Others have argued that very little is being done to create inclusive pedagogical environments as the spectrum of diversity continues to grow and its bands remain only partially understood. In spite of the many years that it has been known that inclusivity is beneficial, why is it still unnatural for others to embrace diversity? Perhaps in order to gain insight into this question, we need to figure out whose duty it is to champion inclusive pedagogy.
This far, it has largely been suggested that the teacher plays a primal role in ensuring that an inclusive pedagogical environment prevails. This approach seems to ignore the multidimensionality of the issue at hand. As has already been pointed out by others, most of the implicit biases that plague one’s unconscious decision-making processes develop outside of the classroom. If the sources of these biases are not adequately addressed, attempts at creating an inclusive pedagogical environment will only succeed in so far as what results portrays an isolated momentary experience that is not only detached from reality, but that is also superficial and vulnerable to catastrophic failure at any time. The classroom and the world that exists beyond it must be understood as a totality so that the responsibility of creating inclusive pedagogical environments is shared by teachers, learners, parents and the general public.
In an effort to create inclusive pedagogical environments, there are certain things that one may need to do. This approach, essentially, enables one to temporarily suspend their biases just so that they can be seen to be accommodative of diversity and then, once the need is over, they revert back to their original self. Is this good enough an approach? Probably not as it comes through as just being a convenient show off. Unfortunately, it would be very hard to tell if one is genuinely committed to diversity or they are just trying to side with the convenient truth at any given moment.
When all is said and done, we must all aspire for inclusive pedagogical environments that are sustainable. There are many things that might be done in order for this to happen one of which might be the exploration of the idea that the classroom and the world beyond it are a totality and that the duty of ensuring the prevalence of sustainable pedagogical environments belongs to not only the teachers, but us all. Inclusive pedagogy must become a way of life.