It was the first time I spent my birthday in London. Actually, I wasn’t in town with the purpose to celebrate it, but it happened that I was invited by the organizers of the Equal Opportunities and Equality Seminar to present in the event and it took place on 20-21 February. I’m really thankful for the British Council and Mike Solly, president of the IATEFL Global Issues SIG for inviting me to be one of the speakers.
The seminar was very much focused on institutional and practical aspects we have to take into consideration when implementing an EOD policy in our institutions. My talk was more related to how to connect these practical issues to critical literacy and classroom practice. For me, just waving the flag of EOD is not enough and many times such policies are adopted because they are legally or socially imposed on us because of political correctness. If such policies do not emerge from a real concern for promoting diversity and understanding and acceptance of differences, they will soon become the dead letter of the law. If concerns for EOD do not take into consideration the real people and their values and needs, it runs the risk of becoming another sort of paternalism or a political platform.
We may ask ourselves what critical literacy has to do with EOD. My answer was that for me critical means to be able to see things from different perspectives and analyse them in-depth and literacy means to be able to read the world as a socially and historically constructed text. If we cannot look at EOD using different lenses and cannot read the signs and situations where disadvantaged and disable people are, we cannot really promote equality and human dignity – we will be only paying lip service to the legislation and to a political trend.