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Relational and Responsive Inclusion

Contexts for Becoming and Belonging


Mere Berryman, Ann Nevin, Suzanne SooHoo and Therese Ford

Socially unjust circumstances continue to perpetuate inadequate classroom, school and system-level responses to longstanding social justice imperatives, shutting out power-sharing solutions to educational disparities and marginalizing populations of Indigenous and minoritized peoples. To address these educational disparities, this book proposes a relational and culturally responsive framework, from within a critical and indigenous paradigm that is designed to foster one’s sense of becoming and belonging in the world with all people, and thus promotes inclusion. Praxis such as this challenges traditional paradigms that marginalize or dehumanize those with whom we seek to work. Social justice in education must be concerned with recognizing, respecting and being inclusive of the diversity of all students. Social justice is about valuing and including all children for the potential they arrive with and for the families that stand beside them, rather than on what we might aspire to change and mold them into being.
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Chapter Nine: Cultural and Relational Contexts for Becoming and Belonging


← 162 | 163 → CHAPTER NINE

Cultural and Relational Contexts for Becoming and Belonging



Mere and Paul come to this research and to this chapter from vastly different places. Mere, a Tu-hoe woman, grew up and was educated in a system that did not value her indigenous cultural knowledge. Within this system she was often made to feel ashamed of who she was and always felt compelled to leave her culture at the school gate in order to succeed at school. Moving from school to become a teacher only served to show her how she was perpetuating the very system she wanted to disrupt. Education for her sons, again perpetuated her own experiences of marginalization and disconnection.

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