The society we live in is extremely diversified and, as teachers, one of our main goal is to try to address and teach diversity to our students. This was the focus of the course “Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudices and discrimination” that took place in the last week of November in Bologna, where we had the pleasure to welcome 8 participants form different parts of Europe (Spain, Germany, Romania, Sweden and Latvia) who shared their experience and tried together to answer to some key questions:
How do we differentiate learning? How do we adapt to different learning needs?
Who are our students and how do we communicate with them?
What are the main issues in our classroom?
Once we have a better understanding and awareness of our identity, what happens when we face diversity?
We explored how stereotypes can affect students’ life and how they often trap us in vicious cycle. Through some practical example and the storytelling technique, we saw how stereotypes evolve into judgments and discrimination.
After that, participants had the chance to discuss about two key concepts: awareness and respect. The glasses through which we perceive the world are a product of our identity and the reality is different depending on which glasses we are wearing. We saw through some exercises how often we put labels without even be conscious of that, and how often the reality is different from our perception.
Through many group activities and simulations, we investigated how different values can be and the crucial link between value and culture. As teachers, one of our task is to stress the complexity of communication, helping students to develop critical thinking and a positive attitude to better understand diversity.
Another topic that was analyzed was “membership”: how do we behave when we belong to a group? We experienced what does it mean to be excluded and how difficult it is to include others into our dynamics. We learned through the gig saw method what goose know about collaboration: it’s easier to fly together!
Finally, the last chapter of the course was about empathy: The capacity of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, using this information to guide thinking and behavior. We dug into feelings and emotions, fostering teachers to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Being aware of our emotions is crucial but it’s important as well to train ourselves and the students to express them.
More info on these courses at: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/teaching-diversity.html.