I know I am not alone in flocking to local restaurants serving Malaysian cuisine. Here on the west coast we are spoiled… and currently am awaiting my party at The Banana Leaf.
Upon opening their menu, I could help my eye to be drawn to their welcome page shown above.
What a welcome! I mean it probably helps that I’m starving, love coconut rice and am about to give them money.
As I turn the pages, however, I notice something else too. The menu pages are filled with tasting menus and a fusion of combinations neither labeling nor categorizing, but instead showing how these different cultures have influenced their dishes… constructing something new.
Imagine if this is how we viewed diversity in schools. Imagine if, instead of compartmentalizing students into special needs categories, income brackets, behavioural tendencies and ESL levels, we looked to these instead as lenses or influences. Influences that are honoured, and bring everyone together within the community to create and construct something new.
It would no longer be “my kids” and “your kids” or “those kids” and “these kids” … But our kids. This is us.
This is diversity. Where everyone comes from strength. Where everyone can contribute. Where the goal is learning from each other… not tolerating each other. A fusion of experience and knowledge, creating something new.
Perhaps a school like that could have a welcome page too, and perhaps it could sound a little something like this…
Welcome to your school! We are happy to have you here and hope to share with you the finest learning opportunities that this world has to offer! Known as the crossroads of culture, ability and experience, diversity is what makes our school so great. So may we suggest some construction of learning, where every student grows as soon as they are ready, and sharing is among the community. Learning is our goal and so allow us to transport you from what you know to what you can know, in the warm heart of your classroom.
Let’s strive for this. And until then, I’m going to eat some coconut rice.