Unity is not uniform

I stumbled upon this image and quote on the Instagram page of Californian Hip-Hop artist, Propaganda (@prophiphop), several months ago.

Unity is not uniform …

Photographer unknown (1964). Source: Wikipedia.

I was intrigued by the possibilities of this idea: unity is not uniform. This idea is not just relevant for much needed social movements, but can be transferred to multiple contexts. One of the primary contexts that I am most passionate about is that of education – I truly believe education is central to making a better and more peaceful world for all. The educational context that I am most passionate about is the classroom – where we as teachers are given the opportunity to inspire, motivate and cultivate our student’s ideas and ways of learning.

For teachers to fulfill their multifaceted role, they can be that much more effective within the context of a school where this principle – unity is not uniform – is applied. While I think of our College and the various personalities and approaches to learning that the teachers I work alongside embody, I am convinced that our students greatly benefit from the diverse range of personalities they encounter.

Our vision is central – to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and compassionate young people who are motivated intrinsically to serve their communities selflessly. This is where we are unified. Our pedagogy is inquiry-based and we firmly believe that positive learning relationships are the heart of creating safe and happy learning environments for our students to grow. Our purpose and pedagogy is unified.

Our individual approaches within the classroom are not uniform – we are diverse. We have quite and calm classrooms where the teacher creates a calm environment for reflection and transfer. We have noisy and chaotic classrooms where the teacher creates an excited environment for inquiry and ah-ha moments. We have busy and fluid classrooms where the teacher stands back and allows the students to ponder and play to find solutions. We have joyful and boisterous classrooms where the teacher employs humor to help students engage in what can be traditionally taught as mundane content and skills. Each classroom has its own unique qualities.

As our students experience and learn to apply their preferred ways of learning within this variety of contexts, led by a collection of diverse personalities – they are enriched and better equipped to navigate the various contexts our world offers.

As educators we are unified. We seek to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and compassionate young people who serve their community through selfless service. As educators we are not uniform. We bring our own unique qualities to the classroom and through this we help our students develop as inquiring, knowledgeable and compassionate young people who serve others through selfless service. Our lack of uniformity gives our students the ability to effectively respond to and contribute to a variety of contexts.

For the sake of enriching the lives of our students, may our schools be unified, but not uniform.

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