At Malin Bridge, we celebrate diversity through our lessons, assemblies, events and day-to-day interactions. We promote tolerance and understanding and are anti-racist. We want to instil these values in our pupils, encouraging them to be engaged in issues surrounding race, gender and other aspects of diversity.
The University of Bristol and the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) in the Shared Space Project to explore the best ways of promoting tolerance and understanding within RE lessons. We will use their findings as we evolve our curriculum to make it truly reflective of our ethos.
There can be no substitute for actually engaging in contact with people who are different to us. Day-to-day, teachers can use targeted seating plans and cooperative learning activities in lessons to support this.
Inviting visitors into school and paying visits as a class also provide opportunities for contact. However, these must allow space and time for meaningful interactions to occur.
Learning about differences
Subjects like religious education and history, where the teacher has the necessary subject expertise, can increase students’ religious and cultural literacy.
In geography or history, students might research and read about different cultures or migration, sharing stories from their family or ethnic group where appropriate.
In English or drama, students might develop stories, poems or plays that are prompted by pictures, storybooks, songs, literature, films and videos that consider ethnic differences.
Teachers should include counter-stereotypical examples in their lessons in order to challenge group-based stereotypes. For example, when setting problems in maths or science, teachers can refer to female scientists or black professors. Evidence suggests that learning to challenge stereotypes in one significant domain (e.g. gender) can also translate to others (e.g. race or religion).
Supporting students to consider what it is like to stand in someone else’s shoes encourages empathy, another important component in promoting community relations. For example, students in citizenship or PSHE lessons might role-play the character of a historical figure who experienced discrimination, such as Nelson Mandela or Malala Yousafzai. Students can engage in interviewing techniques or write about how it might have felt to be that person.
Embracing and celebrating group difference is much better for students than ignoring it. For example, trying different kinds of food together, or marking festivals as a class or school. There are chances to focus in depth on celebrations of cultural difference, while all teachers can celebrate cultural diversity through wall displays, using books and moving images. Although particular subjects might be well placed to promote positive community relations, a whole school effort is needed if we are to truly build a cohesive society.
Yoopies have put together a useful book of resources, activities and tips for families to empower children to work
towards racial equality. You can access ita: www.yoopies.co.uk/c/press-releases/blacklivesmatter
Please use these links for articles and videos which can support adult learning on the subject of diversity and racism. They are not intended to be viewed by children but may be used in discussions with your child/ren: