INCLUSIVITY IN A DIGITAL WORLD

DATE

12 November, 2021

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As one of our College’s Learning Attributes, being Inclusive, is a constant, everyday expectation in every learning moment, in every team/choir/band or club.  The connection to a community and being truly included, welcomed and valued is one of the greatest social and emotional aspirations for our young leaders.  Earlier this week, I had conversations and discussions with many students about their important role in leading the way of being ‘inclusive in their communication in a digital world’.  The intent of modern technologies is to connect people, make our globe borderless and ensure we can all keep up-to-date on the learnings and explorations of our ‘like-minded’ friends.

One of the greatest insights this year into this world of digital technologies is how our young communicators can easily make others feel disconnected, excluded or left out of conversations due to the selections or choices of who is in the group on TicTok, Snapchat or other social media genres.  This thought process and decision making is a big area of development for us all, young and old!  However, the approach of considering others, connecting with our peers is a real measurement of being inclusive.  I encourage our young leaders to continue to measure their ‘digital footprint’, ensure that this footprint is inclusive and positive so the genre creates a sense of connection.  Never before has our communication methods been so visible, so easy to copy or to see, therefore we must explicitly uphold the values of being inclusive and respectful in the development of collaborative communication.  Couple this with the increasingly younger accessibility to mobile devices, our mentoring requires prior learning expectations and clarification of the positive use of such a communication method.

During the last century, our communication skills have been enhanced by a thirst for global languages. Currently, we have thriving numbers in the Middle School in all three offerings; Japanese, French and Chinese.  Learning a second or third language requires an understanding of the origin, the intent of the characters in the language and an appreciation of the culture.  This approach is exactly what is needed in our daily communication in the digital world, including the development of the ‘characterised genre’ of emojis and symbols! Our digitalised communication world can lead to a ‘gap’ in tone and expression if some of these understandings of origin, intent or culture are not inclusive. It is our combined responsibility, student, parent and staff, to reset the rules of engagement as we continue to learn about how the message/communication is received.

As we approach a very busy end to a hugely successful year, I encourage our young leaders to continue to think others, bring their groups closer through inclusive communication skills and enjoy the rich and diverse conversations that can come from an almost borderless audience rather than worry about how many ‘likes’ they can count from unknown ‘friends’.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School

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