During these times, when racism and xenophobia are on the rise, it is important that all children from all backgrounds, learn and show a non-discriminative stance towards others. Education is the best tool for tackling racism as well as all forms of discrimination to build better, inclusive societies. Children can and should be taught early about equality, respect and tolerance. No one is born a racist, it is something that is learnt.
As an educator, promoting mutual understanding and respect for diversity, along with countering all forms of intolerance and discrimination is imperative for children to be able to embrace these behaviours. First and foremost, as a teacher, you must be open-minded and tolerant of others’ differences for you are a role model for your pupils and they will feed off how you act and what you say.
Attitudes and tensions that lead to racism or other types of discriminatory practices are often deeply rooted in stereotypes and misconceptions. One of the most pressing, contemporary challenges as a teacher is to promote knowledge about and understanding of different cultures in order to demystify these misconceptions.
Below are some ideas as to how you can do this in the classroom:
- Talk about racism and discuss it when the opportunity arises,
- Research about women and men in the history which have stood up against racism and discrimination, such as Rosa Parks – click here for free resources to use.
- Educate children about what happened during times where discriminatory behaviour was allowed in the past.
- Celebrate cultural diversity.
- Introduce children to other cultures through topic work and books – integrate it in all areas of the curriculum.
- Talk about differences within the same culture.
- Make sure that children are exposed to culturally diverse literature.
- Explain that no one is perfect and there is no such thing as an superior race – all ethnicities are special in their own way.
- Talk about showing respect and kindness.
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Till next time…
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