Breaking the cycle

This week’s topic for COETAIL, course 3, was on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (#DEIJ).

There were some great media to imbibe in, and yes, a protocol. The standout literature was Harro’s Cycle of Socialization.


Something that really stood out to me in Harro’s Cycle is the social and institutional indoctrination piece. We’re born curious and open-minded, yet our moral compass is shaped by those who raise us along with the social and cultural aspects of indoctrination.

Sadly, many humans on our planet remain ignorant, in their comfort zone, and in a “bubble”. This narrow-minded behaviour is almost predictably resilient to change.

Ignorance is not bliss, however.

I’m a white male from a middle-class upbringing. It is my utmost responsibility to check my privilege. ALL. THE. TIME!

Flipgrid: Our Sharing Tool

Using the Text Rendering Protocol (NSRF), my #COETAIL13 cohort and I responded to Harros’ text in Flipgrid, which was a very effective use of educational technology for this purpose. Check out the responses, here.

I really do love Flipgrid; been using it for years.

Here are some ways I’ve used it in my practice:

  • Showcasing writing
  • Book reviews
  • Feedback loops
  • Mentor introductions for PYPx
  • Visual Thinking Routine responses for any subject area, including workshops for staff

Indoctrination: Changing the educational piece

As educators, shaping and moulding the minds of tomorrow, here are some guiding questions and/or precepts:

  • What are we doing to unwrite the telling of history?
  • Are we asking the hard questions?
  • Are we advocating to be the change?
  • What are we willing to risk to step out of the cycle of ignorance?
  • If the institution that you work for won’t break the cycle, are you willing to disrupt it or leave it?
  • Are we making sure that we’re making wide professional learning networks to question our own perspective and ignorance (i.e. not tribally bubbling ourselves into only our current interests)?
  • Are we making sure to value all the diverse perspectives of those in our community, particularly with the media we subject our learners to?

DEIJ – Who are some leaders in this area?

I love the risk-takers who advocate and are extremely passionate about DEIJ.

This list could be quite exhaustive, but here are four standout people:

  • Darnell Fine: In international education, this human is doing remarkable things in education in regards to culturally responsive education surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Liz Cho: Liz is an international school principal and has already run several presentations on this topic, particularly in regards to supporting change in leadership. Did you know she’s running a special #PubPDAsia strand this Tuesday on DEIJ through leadership?


  • Justin Garcia: Justin is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ international teaching community and raising awareness around gender pronoun use in educational contexts.


  • Raoul Peck: Haitian activist/filmmaker/writer most likely known for his 2016 film, “I Am Not Your Negro“. His latest work, “Exterminate All The Brutes” challenges history and the way it is told. Peck tells the more accurate, yet utterly depressing, picture. Exterminate All the Brutes storytelling is so eloquently woven through Joseph Conrad’s, “Heart of Darkness“, with Josh Hartnett brilliantly playing the role of the colonizer. An absolute MUST watch!

Challenging perspective/privilege

This is a MUST, too!

In order to challenge and disrupt my social, cultural and institutional upbringing, I’m always reading and “collecting” resources on this topic.

Sharing is caring; here is my Wakelet on the topic of DEIJ.

If you have any great resources you could share, please do!



2 Replies to “Breaking the cycle”

  1. Thank you for your post Justin. I always tell my friends/family, “It is not inherently wrong to be born with privilege, it is how you decide to use that privilege to lift those who don’t have it.” In the back and forth about who has privilege and who doesn’t, people often get lost in what the responsibilities are for those who have it.

    One line that stuck out in your post was “If the institution that you work for won’t break the cycle, are you willing to disrupt it or leave it?” This really hit me hard and it is something that I have grappled with throughout my career. My therapist asked me one time, “Would you ever tell a school that you are gay in your interview?” I really thought hard about it and in the end, I decided that I wouldn’t. Being gay has so many preconceived notions and although they are changing, I want people to get to know me before they cast judgment.

    On the flipside of that argument, I wouldn’t want to be at an institution that doesn’t accept me for who I am. I have struggled for the majority of my life to find my “niche” and I am not ready to go back to a place without that. I also want to work in an institution where students who are different are celebrated and not criticized.

    In the end, it is all of our jobs to speak out about what is not okay. Perhaps it is important to be straightforward in an interview so that I don’t end up being in a place that is outside of my integrity. One of the best pieces of advice that one of my college professors gave me was, “In a job interview, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.” As I grow older, I understand more and more about what he meant.

  2. Justin,

    Thank you for always including resources to continue pushing my thinking and understanding in your posts. I appreciate the opportunities to continue digging into the various topics, but especially with DEIJ. I feel that as an international teacher, it has been so easy to bury myself in a perspective bubble and to have that bubble reshape what I think the rest of the world sees. The comfort and ease I find being constantly surrounded by people who share my world view is something that I think can contribute to complacency and a belief that we are on the right track when evidence to the contrary is all around us, outside of that shared-view bubble.

    As the events of the last five years have rattled that bubble, I have been working to unlearn and relearn my understanding and the role I play in maintaining the status quo. Jessy Molina is working with our school throughout this year, and my favorite norms she shares is to “not be afraid of being raggedy” and “lean into discomfort.” As I am learning to uncover and face the implicit biases that have shaped my view of the world, I am trying to lean into that discomfort, ask the hard questions, and to widen my learning network. Thank you for contributing to that!

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