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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Colonial Education and the Mean Dean at York U

Me thinks this Dean needs to get his ass back to class for a bit.  Maybe spend some time out in the real world, too.

The point of education is to prepare individuals for success in society.  That means knowledge, skills and sociability, through accommodations where necessary.

The opposite of education is imposition - telling people what to think, how to act, so on and so forth.

This Dean thinks he's being an advocate for the former, but he's actually embodying the former.

What career opportunities is the young man in question preparing himself for?  He says he's taking online classes so as to avoid contact with women.  He's also saying this is due to religious beliefs, though which religion isn't clear; religious scholars were asked about the position and remained puzzled.

The real question here is why this gent feels so against being in public space with women.  There may be very legitimate reasons that are being masked by religion, consciously or unconsciously.  

The fact remains, regardless of what training this fella gets, the moment he steps out his door he'll be in a world filled with women.  Some of them may even wear skirts and short-sleeves; shockingly, some might even be gregarious and opinionated.

There's a whole movement in education towards self-regulation, empowering individuals to have better self-control, understand and manage stressors better and to by and large being more consciously able to  function within a social setting.  It's the tonic to stigma, discrimination and communication fails.

This Dean doesn't seem to know or care about this.  A young man has expressed religious concerns about socializing with women, dammit, and deserves to be accommodated.  The opinions of the girls in these classes are "not relevant or an appropriate consideration."  They may have won the vote, but they're not going to impose their politics at York U!

Accommodation isn't about creating silos between individuals - it's about empowering people to succeed in a social context.  Hearing aids are accommodations.  Translation services are accommodations.  ECEs are accommodations.  Segregation is not an accommodation, nor is telling people their opinions don't count.

Mean Dean is a boss, not a leader.  It's people like him that are stalling society and putting up walls that disengage youth, the people we need to be actively encouraging to be engaged.

Instead of perpetuating a top-down colonial mentality based on ignorance and gut-feelings instead of evidence-based best practices, maybe it's time this Dean commit a bit of sociology and look into this whole social-emotional self-regulation business.

Who knows, he might learn something.

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