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.
- You can find many free lesson plans and resources to aid you in thinking about and developing a Diversity Club or Harmony Group on this site : www.RaceBridgesStudio.com
- Of particular interest : Seeking Harmony : Starting and Sustaining a Diversity Club for High School Students