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The issues of difference and racial inclusion need not present a daunting challenge
or a subject where teachers seem to walk on eggs.
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There are many free resources on this site to further aid you in developing diversity
goals and activities..Here are 12 ways or action-suggestions to get you thinking
and acting towards creating a simple diversity program into your classroom,
school, project or organization..

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1   CELEBRATE  DIFFERENCES

Set aside time to allow students to share their cultural heritages. This may be a daily or weekly session, and may include cultural creativity in assignments, and may be shown in classroom displays etc.

2   HIGHLIGHT CULTURAL AWARENESS

Include lessons that promote cultural awareness.  In Language Arts, read and discuss culturally relevant works/authors; in Social Studies, tie regional customs to a geography lesson; in Music, practice and discuss pieces of various origins.  You can also dive deeper into the parts of  history which aren’t discussed or where there may be a different first-hand experience.

3    ASSESS THE DIVERSITY CLIMATE OF YOUR SCHOOL

Consider a diversity audit of your school.  Focus on a few major diversity needs. How welcoming is the school facility to all of the diverse groups of students ?

4    BEGIN A DIVERSITY INTEREST GROUP

Establish a small group of teachers who care about the issues of diversity and inclusion. Consider beginning an ongoing Harmony Club.  Include a small student group who are interested and passionate about the issues.  Sometimes a group is created in response to an urgent hate crime issue in the school or neighborhood.  So establish the group so that it prospers and grows in normal ongoing school times as well as in urgent situations.

5   DEVELOP DIVERSITY GOALS

What Diversity dreams would you like to turn into deeds in your school in the school year ?  In two years ?  Voice them. Write them down.  Share them. Find a consensus to establish a few  achievable goals.

6  CREATE A SIMPLE DIVERSITY MISSION STATEMENT

Let this be the work of the Diversity or Harmony Group.   Make a simple art work out of this Mission Statement.  Place it in a prominent place in the school.  Create part of a school assembly to reflect on the Mission Statement and to put it in a place of honor. It could include a few simple goals.

7  GUEST SPEAKERS WITH A DIFFERENCE

Consider inviting special guest speakers related to diversity themes to speak at school assemblies.

8  BRIDGING DIFFERENCES

Consider holding an event with a school or student group that is from a very different school or neighborhood than your own.

9  CREATE MORE THAN  AN INTERNATIONAL DAY  

Go Beyond the usual ethnic foods, pictures and music.   Tell stories collected from students’ grandparents and parents around themes of heritage, resilience and hope.   Pay attention to the “insider” and “outsider” stories and relate them to your students’ lives.

10  ILLUMINATE DIFFERENCES & SIMILARITIES

Show interest – talk to students about their background. Talk to them about your background.  Encourage them to tell stories that highlight a different perspective.  Discover differences and similarities so that everyone feels valued and welcome.

11  WALK THE TALK

Be a role model of acceptance. Show students how to act appropriately, and then expect them to follow suit.  Invite students to embrace discussions, especially when someone has a different experience or perspective.

12   BE PATIENT

Seek to be patient with yourself and with your students and school as you seek progress in some simple diversity goals.  Become aware of your own prejudices and stereotypes.  Understand how cultural pride, identity and race are impacted by racism.  Learn how to take a stand for each other to strengthen and build community.

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