When we talk, when we listen. We get better together. (epilogue)

A story in 3 parts – epilogue

I already posted an article earlier today called English Sector Exclusion: A story in 3 parts and I don’t usually post twice in one day but today, I need to.

The survey that excluded anglophone school boards (and therefore the voices of teachers who work within these boards)? It now includes the English School Boards! The survey is still uniquely in French but at least now, our voices can be included in the conversation about teacher experience during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below is a link to the survey- please share it with all of the teachers you know and if you or anyone you know would like some help with translation, please contact me and I will be happy to help out!

—> Survey on teacher experience during the Covid-19 pandemic (en français)

Catherine Beaudry and I spent much of our morning writing back and forth to each other. I spoke of the same sentiments I expressed in my previous post and she spoke of roadblocks related to translation and validation (this is a huge roadblock in all aspects of Quebec Education and is the number one reason given for a scarcity of English versions of documents. Three or four years ago, I worked on a project with some teachers for the ministry. We are still awaiting approval to publish based on linguistic revision…there is a backlog.) and she also spoke of the lengthy process for Ethics Committee approvals (In a University setting, whenever you do research with people, your research methods must be approved by an Ethics Committee and that could take months. Here is the UQAR ethics approval process.)

She also spoke very frankly of not being familiar with the English community and that she thought a survey had to be in English in order for us to be included. She wondered if people would be willing to answer it if it were in French.

My response was that ideally, it should be in English. But that including teachers from the English School Boards in the conversation is an important step.

I know that many people will feel put out that it is not available in English but I think that being included in this study is important enough to answer some questions in French.

Professor Beaudry also mentioned that when she relaunches the survey, she will make sure to emphasize that the English community is invited to participate.

Now, I think that ideally an English version of a survey (or of Ministerial evaluations or programs of study) would be available along with its French counterpart. We should be developing together, in true inclusion, and not after the fact, in annexation.

In order for us to move towards that ideal, we need to keep talking and listening to each other. If I had said to my circle of friends and colleagues – “Typical! The English community is once again left out!” and not asked why, I would have held on to my resentments and we would still be excluded from the study. If Professor Beaudry had said, “Too bad! It is already published!” instead of taking the time to validate what I told her and then explain her reasoning, then I would never have learned that we were excluded because she thought we wouldn’t want to be included based on the language of the survey. And we would still be excluded.

So once again, Yes. We should be included from the get-go, in our language. And also yes, we can still be included, even if it means (this time) we read a survey in French.

My hope is that Province-wide surveys and resources in education are one day truly Province-wide and respond to the needs of both the English and French sectors AT THE SAME TIME.

I think that conversations like the one Catherine Beaudry and I had this morning are a start.

Bonne St Jean.

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