The focus of the science department this year was to examine our current practices with respect to how we are incorporating social justice issues into our teaching. As a department, we are aware of how historically the study of science has not been inclusive. Too often, science was available only to the privileged. Women, people of colour, those living in poverty, and many others were excluded. While our society’s advances have been immense, exclusionary practices have prevented many individuals from fulfilling their potential in the sciences.
Our department is aware that the exclusionary practices of the past have not been completely eradicated, and that many do not feel invited to engage with this field of study. When students see the faces we associate with great scientific achievements, they often notice that there is a fair degree of homogeneity amongst the celebrated. While it is not necessary to detract from what are objectively amazing accomplishments, whether it be the structure of the atom or the laws that govern physics, it is critical to place these discoveries into historical context.
As a department, we believe it is crucial that every student feels welcome in our classrooms and we are committed to extending this welcome through our teaching. This year, we have had critical conversations about how racism and sexism manifest in science, ensured that we are LGBTQ2S inclusive, discussed the significant contributions that people of colour have made, and incorporated aboriginal perspectives. As a staff, we continue to educate ourselves with respect to inclusivity and we understand that we still have work to do.
Although remote learning has been difficult for everyone, especially students, we appreciate all the effort that our students have made to persevere. We greatly look forward to returning to full classroom learning soon.
West Kildonan Collegiate, Department of Science