Contemporary society is profoundly diversified and multicultural, which poses many challenges towards teachers and educators in promoting diversity and tolerance in and outside the classroom.
As teachers and education staff, we wish for our student to be successful, we would like to help and support them in their personal development skills that they can obtain a proper knowledge to find their best place in the society and allow others to be in it. Starting from the early age in teaching tolerant attitudes and promoting open-minded thinking as well as being a role models in building emphatic characters of children can make a real impact for the whole society.
The new edition of the course “Diversity in the classroom: teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudices and discrimination” took place in Tenerife from 11/09/2022 to 17/09/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Julia, Jennifer, Kathrin from Sekundarschule Horn Bad Meinberg in Germany, Maria, Cláudia, Helena, Amelia from Agrupamento de Escolas Emídio Navarro in Portugal, Isabella and Cathrine from Manhemsskolan/Kalix kommun in Sweden, participans coming from Finland: Anu and Pia from Kiviniityn koulu in Finland and Stella from Hellenic Open University, and then Cioabă from Secondary School Ion Creanga, Carolina, Sandra, Giuseppina and Anna from IC. “FRANCESCO RISO” in Italy.
Educators were engaged in a very practical and visual activities to explore the concept of identity. They were asked to draw autoportraits where the first half of it had to present their visible appearance while the other half
– their deep personal values and charakter. At the end we discussed the issue of how our identities may effect the perception of the other people, society and build our viewpoints and convictions.
The second key step of the cours was how to introduce in the class, promote and encourage children to understand and respect cultural diversity. In order to acknowledge this attitude we were watching a TED talk. It helped us to concern the difference between “being local” and “being from a foreign country” because what is shaping our identity is our whole culture developed in various and interconnected levels.
Appreciation of diversity is connected also with the ability to overcome stereotypes. During the course we had an opportunity to duscuss the notion of stereotypes and the purposes of thir existance, we asked ourselves how we form them and when we use them in our everyday life. We could discover both, negative and positive impact of stereotypes using the storytelling technique which helped us to observe how stereotypes evolve into judgments and discrimination
What is more, we analyzed very sensitive issue of awareness and respect. By many activities nad simulations we could gain a distant sight and imagine more how our perception of world, as people in general, is influenced by our identity, values we share and culture we live. We participated in critical thinking exercises to understand what means the respect towards other perspectives on world and different values.
The next part of the course was dedicated to the topic of membership. For the purpose of better understanding of the concept we did exercises focused on exclusion and inclusion. It helped us to recognize how it feels to be excluded and how difficult it is to include into the specific group with its own dynamic. The geese acvitity introduced the topic of leadership styles as a perfect match for this aim.
Finally, we could also discover the power of empathy as a soft skill which is crucial and need to be implemented in process of education. We learnt that it is important to be aware and express our own emotions in the proper way as well as be open and sensitive towards the other people feelings. The teachers were fostered to put themselves in other people’s shoes what help them to be aware of the emotions of others.
To sum up, it was a bright week full of deep discussions, exchange of ideas and perspectives, when we gained a new knowledge and practice, and could share emotions.
Discover more about this course here
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.