Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Inclusion Corner

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Inclusion Corner

Article excerpt

Think about it! Billye

Know how live within yourself: There is in your soul a whole world of mysterious and enchanted thoughts; they will be drowned by the noise without; daylight will drive them away; listen to their singing and be silent.

- Fyodor Tyutchev

(1803-1873)

Poet

I often think the hardest thing we do is take an honest look at ourselves. Taking on the concept of a regular column devoted to the inclusion of all students in our programs might not have been my wisest decision in regard to time managment. However, I believe it may prove to be the most valuable thing I bring to the Magazine in my term as editor. Taking time to understand who we are and why we think the way we do is never an easy thing to do. It is much simpler just to adopt an attitude of "that is just the way I am and I can't change."

Over time I have collected, invented, and devised a number of activities for understanding self when regarding issues of diversity and inclusion. By far my favorite is the activity I call "Tracking." Perhaps my fondness for this exercise comes from childhood fantasies, or memories of hunting with my Dad, but it is a powerful technique.

Tracking is the process of observing-observing people to be exact. Combined with journaling, tracking becomes a powerful tool. Amazingly when we watch how other people treat each other, we tend to edit the way we treat people.

Have your students begin a tracking journal. Each week have them record one observation. Usually we walk along barely even acknowledging the presence of other people. For this assignment we look for situations when people treat others differently due to things beyond the other person's control-like gender, ethnicity, age, size, type of dress, etc.

The task of tracking is to learn to observe. …

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