Understanding diversity and seeking unity in the Kenyan educational context
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This paper originates in my experience as an Irish lecturer who, having taught in a multicultural environment in Europe, began teaching in Kenya in 2004. Through this change of context, I experienced a radical sense of my own diversity with regard to my students, along with a sense of the diversity of the students among themselves. I felt that this situation was making me less effective in my teaching practice, as student feedback indicated their lack of motivation and interest and poor mutual communication, which seemed to be affecting their levels of learning in the units I taught. This piece of research aims at presenting the knowledge and understanding of the Kenyan educational, cultural and socio‐economic context which I have developed through observation, reflection, study, and exchange of ideas with Kenyans themselves, in order to address this situation. I use this knowledge, which is constantly growing, as the background for my efforts to create a conducive learning environment and experience for my students, which focuses on fostering harmony and unity within our mutual diversities. By presenting this work at the Strathmore Ethics Conference, I hope to test the accuracy of my understanding of our educational, cultural and socio economic context in Kenya, and receive critical feedback which can help me to refine this knowledge. At the same time, by showcasing some practical ways of fostering unity in diversity within our educational context, I hope, to illustrate how education can contribute to effective nation building in Kenya. The theoretical roots of my research lie in a philosophical understanding of the dignity of the human person, human activity and human life in society.