Hannah Wilson portrait

Written by Hannah Wilson

Founder of Diverse Educators

Our Journey

When I am running training on DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) for different stakeholder groups, I suggest that they see this work as a journey. The DEIB journey is one we go on individually and collectively, personally and professionally. The journey is non-linear and quite messy – different people will go off on different routes to reach the same goal and people will get on and off at different stages. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint, so we need to pace ourselves and we need to sustain our commitment to the work. 

Motivation to go on this journey is great, but it is the habits that we unlearn and relearn, that will enable the DEIB vision to become embedded into the provision. This is where we see impact and we can make change happen. Moreover, this journey has three parallel lanes. The 3Cs of Consciousness, Confidence and Competence are my way of breaking down the different things that we need to develop in ourselves and each other.

Our Consciousness

Def. the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings; a person’s awareness or perception of something.

We need to start here, fighting our bias for action as educators like to do and get busy finding  solutions to problems. But we need to start with the being. We need to become aware of ourselves, of each other and of the environment in which we are existing.

Consciousness is about exploring our own identity, recognising our own bias and navigating our own power and privilege. We need to become conscious of what we have not experienced, of what we have not been exposed to, of who we do not know.

We talk about getting ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’ because we need to do the ‘inner work’ before we can start the ‘outer work’. We need to start with understanding ourselves on a deeper level.

The call to action is to be able to look in the mirror and to understand who we are and what shapes our thinking/ behaviour. 

Our Confidence

Def. the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something; the telling of private matters or secrets with mutual trust.

With increased awareness, we recognise that we do not have all of the answers. So we need to get confident in acknowledging that we are not the expert and that we need to listen to and learn from others. As we grapple with new concepts and new language, we need to model that we are going to get it wrong, that we are going to need support and feedback, and that we will make mistakes, but we will learn from them.

Confidence is about getting curious and asking more questions. We need to listen to others, to their lived experience, in order to expand our own perspective. We need to have the confidence to discover some hard truths about our organisation.

As we become confident engaging with the subject matter, we then need to become more confident in what we say and what we do. We need to stand up and speak out on issues impacting our community, we need to call in and call out behaviour and language that is not inclusive.

The call to action is to be willing to be courageously open and vulnerable. 

Our Competence

Def. the ability to do something successfully or efficiently; the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill, or strength.

With consciousness and confidence, we can then start developing our competence. In order to do the work in realising our DEIB intentions and bringing our vision to life, we need to develop new skills.

‘We don’t know what we don’t know’ until we start the learning journey. By slowing things down we can be more intentional in identifying the gaps in knowledge and in planning the training to close these gaps over time.

Being competent means that we develop muscle memory, we practise until the new skills feel natural and automatic e.g. diversifying the curriculum/ library, reviewing policies/ processes and practices through a DEIB lens, holding courageous conversations, showing up as an ally.

The call to action is to invest time and resources into ongoing training for yourself and others.

Our Commitment

So as we head to the end of the year, we invite you to reflect on the journey you have been on with your DEIB work. Where have you become more conscious, more confident and more competent? And how have you cascaded this learning to others?