Softening Borders

By: Shirley Wade McLoughlin  

Crossing borders, from geo-political, ethnic, racial, gender and ability related, to others, requires acknowledgement of the perception and presence of borders. It also requires the willingness to accept the individual discomfort that often occurs in initiating these journeys. Reexamining historical and personal narratives within this framework can uncover painful truths not yet confronted by many. Acknowledgement of these truths is critical in developing more inclusive classrooms, communities, and countries. This begins by how we teach our children, and how we present counter-narratives within the nationalistic environments which may exist where we live. This paper addresses the importance of supporting and encouraging higher education faculty, preservice teachers, public school teachers, and administrators as they begin and/or continue their personal and educational journeys towards a more just world. It examines techniques, tools, and teaching approaches that sustain this process. Furthermore, it discusses encountering resistance and how to move forward, hopefully turning that resistance into committed personal, institutional, and community based efforts to provide environments where all individuals can create meaningful, productive lives, and have opportunities to live to their highest potentials.

Border Crossing, Inclusive Education, Professional Development, Encountering Resistance
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Shirley Wade McLoughlin

Professor of Education; Affiliate Faculty Women and Gender Studies , Education and Women and Gender Studies, Keene State College

I am a former pediatric nurse and elementary school teacher. After receiving my doctorate, my work involves teaching pre-service teachers at a small, public liberal arts college. In addition to the technical aspects of teaching, I also try to convey to my students the necessary skills to be effective teachers in our rapidly changing world. Since most of my students are white with minimal personal experiences with diversity, this is often a challenging but worthwhile endeavor. My areas of scholarship are related to race, teaching about race and diversity, and curricular theory. In an upcoming book, I have an chapter about teaching about race as a white woman. I have a book in press entitled A Pedagogy of the Blues, which is related to curricular theory and race.