We are presenting our journey towards growing an equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDID) committee next week at the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education (WFATE) annual conference hosted at the University of Victoria. The theme of the conference is ‘Re-imagining Teacher Education: From Words to Action’ and we are looking forward to engaging with a global of committee teacher educators.
Sharing the abstract for our 50-minute symposium below. We will add the session slides here after the presentation.
Department members at a recent retreat gathered to discuss our strategic priorities, which are organized around three overlapping areas: structural renewal, cultural renewal, and EDID. The knowledge shared and developed during this retreat became a starting point for the creation of our EDID committee. Following the retreat, we began to examine the current EDID initiatives within departmental units, the EDID policies and practices at the faculty and university levels, and the work being done in this area at the University of British Columbia (https://equity.ubc.ca/about/inclusion-action-plan/) and other institutions. We then explored the distinct role of this committee within this larger institutional and regional context. A central component of this work is the committee members’ collective desire to mobilize equity and social justice through the decolonization of teacher and professional education, working to find spaces for diverse voices within the programs.
We recognize that our educational practices, theoretical approaches, and pedagogical strategies can impact how the future teachers and other professionals with whom we engage support EDID in their own classrooms. Examining our own practices and approaches, as well as having meaningful conversations with our colleagues, is critical. Utilizing our diverse range of backgrounds and teaching areas, we have shared our unique perspectives and opportunities to engage in transforming teacher education, as well as related graduate programs and continuing professional education, to encourage and support equity-focused actions, helping to realize a more diverse complement of teacher candidates and professionals within our department.
This presentation will offer an example of one department’s journey in developing an EDID committee and reflections regarding the ways this work might contribute to the decolonization of education, considering the possibilities and the challenges. We will invite audience members to discuss how EDID initiatives at the grass-roots departmental level can mobilize equity through the decolonization of teacher education, including the action-oriented steps that can be utilized in this effort. The call for EDID initiatives to be more than just talk, and this committee’s commitment to actionable recommendations, letting go of what does not serve goals of equity and justice, and putting theory into practice will be of interest to those who are also desire change in education from K-12 through to post-secondary.