12 November 2019

Times for Tolerance

Political positions are not supposed to be embedded in classrooms. Or so some may say. 

Teaching, like so many other activities, is never neutral nor belief-free; there is always some degree of choice/s in one's teaching approaches, selection of teaching materials, class management and interaction with learners. 

As times become increasingly polarised and intolerant, classrooms should become the opposite - safer, more tolerant, fostering equality and equity. It's not only by instilling a sense of a learning community among students, but going a step further, raising awareness and the consequences of inaction towards intolerance. 

It's all very well to share and re-share words of comfort and solidarity when violent events occur and are broadcasted around the world in real-time; however, I do question the validity of this - mindlessly repeating words of digital comfort do not un-do the damage done. Rather than the predictable bandwagon of public outpours of grief and solidarity, wouldn't it be safer, healthier for all, if tolerance and understanding prevented these violent events in the first place?

Teaching Tolerance,( mentioned earlier here ), 
is a rich resource for reflecting on tolerance and tolerant practices. Classroom resources  include lesson plans, student texts and tasks, film kits, and downloadable posters.

Teaching Tolerance also has step by step suggestions on how to set up Reading Groups with
learners and highlight the following:

"Reading groups support children in processing current events and hard truths about the world around them. 

Reading groups help children situate present events within a larger historical context of social injustice.

Reading groups facilitate social emotional learning.

Reading groups develop critical thinking and literacy skills.

Reading groups build family and community engagement. 

Family engagement bolsters students’ academic performance."

Teaching Tolerance has more too - frameworks (including a rich resource for Digital Literacy), podcasts, webinars, and articles that support educators in their daily practices. 

If educators are responsible for education, if education means learning and the spreading of knowledge which in turn will stimulate and promote change, perhaps embedding tolerance in one's practices and teachings may not be a bad idea after all.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the light of tolerance may shine for all. 

Further Suggestions:

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